Maha Kola Sanniya

Maha Kola is the boss of 18 demons of illness that are represented in the Sanni “Devil” Dance. Holding victims in his hands and mouth, Maha Kola is surrounded by snakes and by the 18 Sanniyas – the demons of blindness, cholera, boils, and other pestilences, each of whom is given its own mask. As the curing ceremony proceeds, a ritual specialist propitiates the appropriate demons on behalf of the patient and his family. When done, the demons are dismissed and the area is ritually cleansed of any lingering bad influences.