Thursday, August 11, 2022
Odisha (Orissa)

Fairs and Festivals

Festivities Among Tribals

Those among the tribes who are Hinduized perform many rituals and observe some festivals of their tribal past , especially those which do not directly conflict with Hindu customs and deities, by eschewing sacrifice of cows, buffaloes or offer of wine or partaking of these oblations.

The christianized sections do not usually observe the tribal rituals and festivals, unless these can be harmoniously  blended with Christianity. One example may be given from the Sundargarh Oraon custom of ceremonial sowing of the paddy seeds, sanctified in the tribal way by sprinkling the blood of the sacrificed  chicken. Among the catholic oraon, in a similar ceremonial sowing, the paddy seeds were blessed by Mother Mary in a sanctifying ritual at her altar in the local Church.

Among the tribesmen, festivities connected with sowing, harvesting and consumption of first fruits, and among shifting cultivations, the feeling of the jungle and burning it down for reduction to ash manure, are important ones. Interestingly, enough, success in ceremonial collective hunting in April-May often is believed to contribute to the success of their agricultural efforts . The Santhals have a special spring festival of rejoicing with sprinkling of water, special songs and dances. When the roles of the deities are acted out by men, and thereby many traditional social barriers fall. Usually, the supreme god is not offered any specific worship among tribals. But among the Santhals of Mayurbhanj ,one may perform the worship every fifth year or at least one in a life-time. Bondo festivities have a great relevance for the tribal communities of Odisha (Orissa). The Bondos spend a great deal of time on their religion, and the feasts and holidays are an important part of Bondo life. Moreover, the collective festivities foster a sense of solidarity of the village and fortify one's confidence in undertaking major activities in economic and social life as possible. Thus proving herself to be virtuous and devoted. The wife presents a number of delicacies to her husband at the end of her fast.

Pusha Punein is celebrated by the tribesmen of north Odisha (Orissa), specially the Bhuiyan, the Gond and others. They celebrate this festival on a day closet to the actual full moon day of month. The whole village joins in the celebrations of feasting, drinking and dancing.


The goddess of small-pox, chicken-pox, cholera, measles and plague epidemics know variously in various regions. They have to be worshipped and offered a sweet drink called 'pana' at the function of roads leading away from the village. The goddess are asked to leave the supplicant village and save it from their wrath. Among tribals the village deities and some locally believed in Hindu deities are worshipped in some cases with blood sacrifice. Some rites of rain making in drought affected areas are also worshipped by the people of Odisha (Orissa). Lord Mahadeva in a most common rite is immersed in water so that there may be flood in the area in place of drought. The Santhal tribe of Mayurbhanj district propitiates Sima Bongas with promise of special offerings as demanded through the Shaman or spirit-medium. When rains come the promised offerings are made. The hill Bando also make sacrifices to lessen the fury of rain.