Friday, May 1, 2009


Birth and naming ceremony:
When Santal women get pregnant, she and her husband observe certain taboos. The husband during his wife's pregnancy never kills any animal nor participates in any funeral ceremony and does not come in contact with any dead body. The pregnant woman during the evening very rarely comes out of the house. She does not weep when the death occurs of her relative. On the day of moon eclipse, she will not come out of room. She should not sit on courtyard with her hair or cloth hanging downward. After the birth of a child, the house is considered polluted. So the Santals performs the Janam Chatiar ceremony. Until it is done, no other activities can be undertaken like hinting etc. The usual day for the ceremony is fifth day for male and third day for female child. After ceremony, the men and women and children of the village who have assembled at the house each a leaf cup full of rice water with the leaves of Neem (Neem dak' Mandi). Generally it tastes sour. On the fifth day, the children are given the name. Should it happen to be son and then he takes the name of grandfather. Should it be second son born, he takes the name of maternal grandfather and thus third from paternal grandfather's brother and fourth from maternal grandfather's brother and so on. The same procedure is followed for girls the female relations being in the same order.
Chacho Chatiar:
It is very important ceremony of the Santals that enables the individual to take his place in Santal society and participate in its rights, rules and ceremonies. Without this no Santal can be married or cremated.
It means outcasting Santal from society. This outcast takes place by the order of assembly of villagers. It is resorted when a Santal women indulges in any physical relationships with either Diku (non-Santals) or with a person of name sept. It is worth noting that relatively free sex is prevalent among the Santal society. If it is proved, then the assembly gives the order of outcast and they proceed to carry out the day after annual hunting. A man in the market who carries a branch of sal tree with leaves announces the date of Bitlaha. The person in the market on seeing him understands the matter and counts the leaves that indicate the no of days.
The day of Bitlaha, all female members of village kept themselves away from village. In the early morning bachelors and other male members of the neighboring villages with flutes and drums, bows and arrows meet at the end of Village Street where culprit lives. Drumming is kept terribly high so that it can be heard from long distance. When crowd reaches the house of the offender they tie a short charred bit of firewood, worn out broom ad some used leaf plates on the pole of bamboo and fixed at the entrance of courtyard. Bachelors in undress do desecrate the rooms. The person who outcasted are not allowed to take food with others, and they cannot give their children marriage within the Santal community.
Jam jati:
By performing this ceremony, an outcasted Santal can be taken back in the society. The outcasted man and women go to the village street with twisted cloth rounded their necks and water in a lota. Before the headman and his assistance, the offenders acknowledge the offence and agreed to pay the fine for it. After taking water from lota and wash their mouth and pass it to all leading man who will repeat the same. After this they entered the village and the courtyard of the outcast who personally wash the feet of the leader of he people.
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