The Bay of Bengal smiles to itself as it kisses the sand beaches along these islands. The dense green forests and colourful birds make the Andaman and Nicobar Islands an abode for the peaceloving, non-interfering happy and cheerful Andamanese and Nicobarese people. The tribes have their own traditions and culture, social customs and religious practices. Though people from other parts of the country, having different faiths, languages, customs and religions have settled down here, the original inhabitants have fiercely guarded their own social and cultural identity. Though the dances of the people of the islands do not have a wide variety, they are entertaining and unique in their own way.
The creative expression of the Nicobarese people is closely associated with the environment. Nature has always been the strongest inspiration for them. The Nicobarese tribes living in the Car Nicobar Island of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands are the only tribes which have accepted the value of civilisation. The most important festival celebrated by the Nicobarese tribe is the Ossuary Feast. At this feast, the members of the family pay homage to the soul of the departed head of the family. On this occasion, the Nicobarese Folk Dance is organized and all invitees take part in the dance. The festival is celebrated on a full moon night so that there is sufficient light for the nightlong performance. All the people who are invited join in the dance. The dance is performed in a circular formation. The dancers extend their arms across each other's back with the hand resting on the next person's shoulder. Both men and women join in the dance but in separate groups. The dancers wear the traditional costume consisting of coconut and plantain leaves around their heads and waist. There are no musical instruments accompanying this performance. This folk dance is also performed during canoe racing and other seasonal festivals. A pig fight follows the folk dance in the morning.
Dances of the Great Andamanese
The Great Andamanese people appreciate rhythm and time but not pitch or tune. They sing in unison, but not in parts. The key in which a solo or a chorus starts is quite accidental. They can be readily taught any dance step and they can also learn it by themselves from observation. The composer of the song always sings without action or gesticulation and always to the same rhythm. The songs relate to travel, sport and personal adventures, they never relate to love and very rarely to beliefs and superstitions.