Sarhul FestivalRead Now
Here is what Ferdinand Hahn wrote as recorded in Introduction to the Kols Mission Field, by Ferdinand Hahn.Part 3 - The Religion of the Kols. Chap. 15. The Understanding of the Kols about the Highest Nature. as translated by Theodore C. Feierabend (unpublished 2019)
It is the Oraon, however, who worship the most ardently, that the earth may be fruitful. At the Khaddi festival, also called Sarhul, in the spring, when the sal-tree begins to bloom, they celebrate the marriage of Dharme with the earth. The former is personified by the village priest, the latter is identified by the elder of the holy grove. The Korwa hold the Mother Earth, the Dharti-Mata, as the supreme deity, who dwells in the sacred grove under a sal-tree. They perform sacrifices for the grain to flourish. Thus, too, the Oraon imagines the earth as one with the spirit under the sal-tree, the Jhakra borhi. The meal between her and Dharme takes place in the following manner: The village priest, together with his wife, fasts at the beginning of the festival, on the eve of the same. Then, accompanied by his assistant, he goes from house to house through the whole village. Each housewife gives them some hands full of rice. The priest keeps about half of it, and the other half the priest returns. Through this symbolic action the main food is blessed. Of the returned rice, the women hide some grains in their house, and when it grows, it is a good sign of a rich harvest. On the evening of the first feast, the priest, with the help of his assistant, takes a new large earthen vessel, filling it with water, and carrying it to the holy grove, where he places it at the seat of the god, the certain ancient sal-tree. Such vessels are porous, and therefore lose content, even if they remain only one night in the open. It is now very important that very little water is lost during the festive season, as this is a sure sign of a good rainy season, which is so important for the prosperity of the crop. Thereupon the priest takes a sacrifice in the presence of the villagers on that tree, consisting of two white hens, some vegetables, rice, oil and brandy, and, last but not least, cinnabar, with which he bites a twig of the sal tree with a piece of zeng or a cotton thread, then brushing his chest, his forehead and his ears, and thus marrying himself with the tree; the representative of the sun god being the tree and the representative of the mother earth residing in him. Thereupon the priest prays: “O Old One, bring forth the fruit of this year. May the rain fall, so that the corn may grow and flourish." As the bridegroom and bride are carried to the village or dwelling-house, the priest is now carried into his house. Then he visits all the houses again, and distributes sal-blossoms, which the women use to decorate their houses. Then they wash his feet and give him rice and money. His assistants sprinkle the roof of every house with water to indicate that now rain and fertility will follow, and finally dining, drinking, and dancing, as is customary at weddings, with all shame and good manners being laid aside.
In the case of the Ho, this feast is celebrated in a particularly exuberant manner, although they lack the idea of combining Singbonga with the earth. The Santal and Munda also have their seed sacrifice and feast, which they call Kadlo-Sa.
Merry ChristmasRead Now
From my Blog: wwwjourneyfromjourneyto.com
December 2019: Christmas thoughts from Mary Girard
I was so blessed when Joy shared this picture on Facebook. Though I had studied art under the Christian Indian artist, Frank Wesley, and have a book of his work, I had never seen this one. It clearly is his work; incorporating the message of God among us (Emmanuel) in the classical Kangra Valley style with Indian symbolism. I just love the fact that there are hardly ever nativity scenes where baby Jesus is in the arms of Joseph. As I care for my aging father I am more and more aware of the important role of the active father in a child’s life (from infancy to the end).
Enjoy meditating on this picture and reading the comparative birth stories in Matthew and Luke this Christmas season. May new insights of love, joy, peace and hope be birthed in you in the midst of a world; that is on one hand as beautiful as this, but on the other hand is just as cruel and oppressive as it was in the time of Jesus.
This past year has been so rich. I published my first book (through Lulu.com) and have had a few opportunities to promote it in the US and India. As I await efforts to get the book published in India (after a careful edit) I will continue to promote the publication in the US and Europe this coming year (starting in Florida in January) For those of you who have had a chance to read it I would appreciate if you posted your candid reviews on Amazon, Lulu, GoodBooks, Barnes&Noble or where you might have purchased your copy. My goal is to increase sales of the book in the West by 3 fold.
And when I say “candid”, I mean that. This was a challenging book to write. There were so many varied readers who I wrote for: academics, Christians of various ilk, those concerned with social justice, history, psychology and culture, as well as the Adivasi themselves and the general Indian population that see afresh their own history. I’m bound to step on a few toes or to confound others. I already know that some readers have found the book has spoken to them on an emotional or mental level. My main hope is that it ignites thought and even conversation about our complex world and histories and that the cause of the Adivasi and Christian minorities in India will be known.
I was very happy to attend the Jubilee Centennial year of the Autonomy of the Gossner Church (Evangelical Lutheran and 90% Adivasi). It was wonderful to join the churches in celebrating their culture, community, history and their Lord.
Celebrating in November with GELC in Ranchi
Glad to share the joy and adventure of this trip Glad to meet Klaus Roeber, a cousin. His
with Delia ancestor was Gossner Missionary Alfred Nottrott
I also enjoyed speaking to many groups in India about the process and reasons for preserving and learning about and from their heritage and the unique Adivasi history. It must be documented or written down as the oral agriculture-based culture is perpetually diminished. On my next blog post I will share more details about the writing workshops that I have done and plan for the future.
I also enjoyed visiting Chhattisgarh for the first time since 1976. Since the monsoon was lingering everything was so green and fresh. Though I have little personal memory of my childhood home (ages 1-5) there are many family memories that were revived by my visit.