Friday, May 1, 2009

TheSantalCommunity

It is a fact that till date the focus of the LOKFOLK was mainly at the Bangla's folk community and culture rather the tribal community. We are now serially putting various social tradition and mores, at first of the Santal Community- then other indigenous people. Other posts will be posted after completing the Santal Community information

Santals has wonderful socio-cultural mosaic, which often we round of it in the present caste rifted Indian society. the following are the main socio-religious characteristics of the Santals:
• Santals have separate religion and it is called "Sarna". Even Indian Constitution does treat Santals religion as separate one.
• Offering during worship is made within the pictorial boundary known as khond as a mark of the mundane relationship of the supernatural power.
• Image or idol worship is absent and there is no as such traditional temple that exists in Santal society.
• Both burial and cremation are practiced. A chicken is dedicated to the dead body.
• The society is devoid of caste hierarchy and therefore, the Santal's is a casteless society. By birth no person, family, clan group is superior or inferior. Santal women enjoys much more freedom than their counterparts in Indian Society.
• Blood offering is prevalent in the community. Earlier practice of cow sacrifice is now restricted.
• Priesthood is not appropriated by a particular clan group or a sect but is owned by the family members of the first settlers of the village. Occasionally selection of a successor of the old priest is held if he leaves no issue (male child). Mainly a divinated person makes such a selection and it is undisputed.
Santal's Social life:
Santal social organization has very interesting characteristics. It contains flexibility in rigidity. Marriage is one of the important components in the dynamics of Santal society. It, indeed, have wonderful and interesting feature. Therefore, more details description is given here for Santal marriage to have understanding of Santal life, and their feeling and sentiments. It, to some extend, depicts the Santal way of life.
Santal Marriage:
The Santali name for marriage is called /Bapla/. In Santal society, marriage is one of sacred event of life and marriage adds up considerable respect in society. However, there are some traditions and customs need to be strictly followed in doing so. It is strictly forbidden for any Santal to marry within his or her own sept (Parish). He can marry into any other septs or sub-septs to which his/her mother belonged. There are some septs, which never intermarry with another in consequence of some ancient feuds between them. For example, A Hansdak' male or a female never marries a Murmu female or male respectively. Similarly, a Tudu male never marries a Besra female and vice versa. These customs are no longer in effective prevalent in day-to-day life of Santals. However, myths and tales associated with feud are still told among the Santals.
Girls are married as adults mostly to men of their own choice. In Santal marriage, there is no restriction of age. The bride may be younger, older or of equal age with bridegroom. There are two types of marriage practiced by Santals- the marriage arranged by Raibar (match maker) is the regular form of marriage. Couple themselves arranges the other forms of marriages.
Next post will be various marriage traditions of the Santal Community.
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