Kanaka Dasa is to date a very renowned name in the field of kirtans and ugabhoga ( Carnatic music compositions in the Kannada language). Born as Thimmappa Nayaka on 3rd December 1509, he grew to become a celebrated philosopher, poet, and musician. Every year his birth anniversary is celebrated as Kanakadasa Jayanti with great pomp and enthusiasm in the state of Karnataka. Every year this day in Karnataka is declared as a regional public holiday to pay tribute to this great saint and poet.
Kanakadasa Jayanti is mainly celebrated by the people of the Kuruba community. This year people are going to celebrate the 527th anniversary of the poet. As per government guidelines, schools, colleges and government offices around the state have been instructed to remain close to pay tribute to this social reformer. Kanaka Dasa was known for his contribution as a social reformer, and how he brought change to the society. He played an active role in spreading messages of equity and uplifting the social community. The use of local language in Carnatic music and kirtans gained him a lot of fame. All the people come together on his birth anniversary to celebrate his works and him as an influential person.
The festival is celebrated by different organisations and government agencies with several activities and events. People offer floral tributes to the portrait of the saint. There are even cultural programs arranged by the department of culture, district administration and zila panchayat. Majority of celebrations take place in cities like Bengaluru, Udupi, Mysuru, etc. Professors in various institutions deliver speeches about the life and contribution of Kanaka Dasa. A few places get to witness the establishment of Kanaka Dasa’s statue decked up with flowers. Processions are then carried out with the idol. In the magazine called Jeevana Shikshana, there was an article that read how Kanaka Dasa considered the universe as his family and was well able to advocate a society he built based on trust, love, and brotherhood.
Therefore, in honour of this great Haridasa saint, Karnataka observes Kanaka Dasa Jayanti every year on the eighteenth day of the Hindu month, Kartik.