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The name "Devadiga" is derived from archaic Kannada term "Deva Adiga".
Tulu is the main language spoken by Devadigas. In some places of Karnataka, Devadigas also speak Kannada and identify themselves as Kannada Devadigas. Devadigas live in temple surroundings.
Worship of Spirits
Tulu regions have Bhoota kola and Nema, a kind of spirit worship. Devadigas were an important part of this native worship. Dhoomavathi, Panjurli, Kalkudi, Varthe, Marl jumadi, Kodimanithaya, Maisandaya and Jarandaya are some of the most common Bhutas worshiped by the community.
Traditions of Devadigas
Aliya kattu or Aliya santana, was a matrilineal system of property inheritance practiced by some communities in coastal Karnataka. In Aliya kattu system, the mother's family takes control of the family and property matters. The family functions such as Bhootha Kola will be performed initiated from mother's family.
Yakshagana is a Kannada classical folk art form in India mostly popular in Tulu Nadu areas of South India. Devadigas contributed to the development of this folk dance, which was taught in Yakshagana mandalis.