16 November 2013


                                                                    THE DANCE
                                                THE GODDESS TREE--KARMA

                                                                The Group dance
Photo:SanjoyKumar Satpathy

This triba festival of Orissa is observed as a mark of respect to the “Karama tree” which is worshipped by these tribal. The presiding deity of this festival is either 'Karama', a God or 'Karamasani', a Goddess who is represented with a branch of Karama tree. The celebration takes place in the bright half of the month of 'Bhadrab' during the rainy season. As a ritual, people go to the jungle accompanied by groups of drummers and cut one or more branches of Karama tree. These branches are mostly carried by unmarried young girls who sing in praise of the deity. The branches are brought to the village and planted in the centre of a ground, which is plastered with cow-dung and decorated with flowers. After performing all rituals, the tribal priest known as Jhankar or Dehuri offers germinated grams and liquor in propitiation to the deity who grants wealth and children. A fowl is also sacrificed and the blood is offered to the branch. Then, he narrates a legend to the villagers about the efficacy of Karama Puja.

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