Asia Pacific Cultural Centre for UNESCO (ACCU)
Asia-Pacific Database on Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH)

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Folk song descriptive of religious event. Group of singers and dancers perform Balan. Songs and dance at the end of a puja held in the evening and the audience participates.

Reasons for selection

Balan (hymns)and dance form is one of the ancient song-and-dance forms of Nepal nearing extinction. Very distinct and striking characteristics of this form make it outstanding.

Area where performed

Hills of Nepal. Especially Lumbini and Dhaulagiri Zones.

Essential elements of the performing art

Music, Dance

Detailed explanation

Balan is singing of hymns dedicated to a deity. Many times Balan was performed at the end of a Satya Narayan Puja (special worship of Lord Bishnu)and his consort Laxmi.

Small and medium cymbals, flutes and drums ( damfo ), a special drum available only in Nepal, accompany the hymns.

Amateur artists used to perform Balan. The month when Balan was sung was Magh (January-February). The objective was to please the deity. Dancing and singing were a part of a five-fold worship of a deity. Bathing, dressing and feeding are the other three aspects of worship.

The performers used to wear special dress for the performance, but as dancing was a part of a worship, everybody (guests and on-lookers included)was eager to take part in dancing. At the end of his or her performance, a devotee offered his dance at the feet of the deity.

Balan artists received adequate gifts of cash, food grains and season's fruits for their labour.

Publication and textual documentation

no information at present

Audio documentation

no information at present

Visual documentation

not yet available

Institution/organisation involved in preservation and promotion

does not exist

Data provider

Mr. Shrikrishna Gautam
Special Secretary
HMS/Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture
Address: Tripuresevar Kathmandu, Nepal