The Oraons are Dravidian-speaking, short-stature, narrow headed and broad-nosed
people living mostly in the Ranchi and Palamu districts. They are divided
into several clans or gotras. There are many resemblances between the
Oraons and Mundas. The Oraons are much less conservative and exclusive
than Mundas. Oraon youths have their hair tied in a knot behind and a
small mirror stuck in it and ornaments in their ears. The headman of their
village is called the Mahto and the official who presides over their spiritual
affairs is the Pahan.
The Oraons employ methods of cultivation which are much
advanced compared with those of other tribes in Bihar. Their most important
social institution is the Dhumkuria or the boy's youth dormitory, an institution
which has put them on the ethnographic map of the world.