Treating House Guests
As the guest arrives he is offered a bed, food, a hookah and a tea. He
is looked upon as an incarnation of the gods. If he comes on the day of
festival he must not leave without having a meal. Visiting relatives and
married daughters must not be sent back without gifts of sweets and clothes.
The guests also never arrive empty handed. If they can manage nothing
else, they bring some fruits for the hosts. The women embrace each other
when departing and touch the feet of the elders. Married daughters and
children are also given gifts of money. The married daughters often weep
at leaving their fathers house after a visit.
In some areas the customs for welcoming a guest are very
strange. In Chachyot area when the guest reaches a house the family does
not open the door to him. Neither they come out or offer him a seat. The
guest lets himself in and finds a seat. In a little while the host family
files in and welcomes him. His feet are bathed with warm water and he
is given delicacies to eat. The guest as also the married daughter's husband
are called Prahuna.
Before a wedding or a sacred thread ceremony for a boy,
the boy and the bride-to-be are invited specially and presented with gifts.
This custom is known as Lodhak. The relatives cook many delicacies at
this time and send it for the bride and the groom. Special foods are offered
to them and songs are sung. The gifts bestowed by the relatives on this
occasion are to be remembered and returned when a similar occasion arises
in the other houses. This custom promotes mutual good-will and co-operation.
Untouchability has fossilized in the area into a rigid
and ugly custom. The untouchables may not talk direct to someone from
a high caste, use their wells or enter their houses with shoes on. They
must leave the road if a man from a high caste is passing by and in wedding
feasts they cannot sit with every one else. They are served food on leaves
which they must accept after repeated bowings and they must remove the
carcasses of dead animals from the village for which they are paid in
kind at the time of the harvesting season.