Nadu, Andhra Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh, Himachal
Pradesh in North India, Assam, Bengal,
Sikkim in East India
to : Index
Jatra festival being celebrated in Orissa
Devotees in Bijipur District of Orissa tonsure their heads to please goddess
as part of carnival procession of 'Thakurani Jatra' festival. The ritual gains
even more significance as not just a way to honor the goddess, but also a protest
against the dubious religious leaders and other issues concerning the villagers.
"I have been doing this for the past four to five years. I also wore a garland
made of vegetables. It was a way of protest against inflation and rising prices
of vegetables," said Sibsankar Patra, a devotee. The day of head tonsuring is
decided and followed by all villagers. The leader of the group, the 'mahant' leads
the procession with a female consort. The female consort is actually a male dressed
up as a girl, a comment on the dubious nature of priests and religious leaders.
"The ritual is going on since 1933. Our predecessors used to follow the ritual
as well. Then only 10 to 20 people used to get their heads tonsured but now it
is almost 200 to 300 people. We do it to propitiate the goddess. But now we are
also raising awareness. We write songs as well on various subjects and try to
gain people's attention with our attires," said Brindaban Parida, the Priest.
Not only are these devotees getting designs on their heads, they are also getting
various themes and motifs on their backs. The people claim that they are trying
to raise awareness by creating designs based on socially relevant issues.
-May 3, 2009