Margam Kali is a traditional dance form prevalent among the Syrian Christians of Kerala. It is a kind of group dance which is performed during festive occasion or during marriage functions. It is believed that, margam kali has evolved from Kalarippayattu. The term ‘margam’ means path and margam kali is meant for propagating Christian religious ideas. A group of 12 people will perform the dance moving in a circle around a lighted oil lamp. The oil lamp symbolizes the Christ and the 12 dancers as His disciples. The dancers will sing the song while performing. The performers will not use much musical instruments.
The theme of the song will be an elaboration of the activities and martyrdom of St. Thomas in Kerala. The song was there before the Portuguese invasion. It had 450 lines and 14 strophes. A combination of both Malayalam and Tamil were used for the song. Many other songs were also added to the old one later and now it is completely in Malayalam. It was a source of entertainment in Christian houses in the olden days. Now, it is performed only in special occasions. The costume used to wear during the performance is called chattayum mundum. In olden days, margam kali was mostly performed by the men. But, now women also perform margam kali.
Most of the people knows about margam kali. It has become a stage item nowadays. It has been included in the list of competitive items in the youth festivals.