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Baha Festival

BAHA’ is  second great and holy festival in SANTAL Tribal. This is performed in the month of phagun (Feb-March) after full moon has cut down by its halfway. This is the time when year changes - past year gone and the New Year knocks. The flowers of Sal, Mahua,Ichak and Murut blossoms. One shouldn’t taste these flowers before Baha. If anybody dose then,the Naike(Priest) of the village boycotts his family and do not take/give any food or drink in that particular family until the Baha festival has been performed .
The day when Baha begins boys of the village make two huts in the premises of Jaher, one is for Jaher era, Moreko and for Marang buru and the second one is for Gosae era. Naike polishes then, the ground of two huts with a little amount of cow dung and then he and the boys who made huts go for a bath. After that boys come to the home of Naike. Naike serve then with drink and food. After then, boys move to the local jungle for hunting. After taking food Naike cleanses some holy materials related to the Bongas with water and after he oils those materials with mithi and mustard oil. In the meantime boys returns from hunting.




Then Gudhit (the messenger) brings three hens to Naike. These are called the hens of Naike. Boys beats drums and play sakwas from the beginning of evening. Then three performers as Jaher era , Moreku and Marang buru do their jobs . Jaher era puts a chain around his neck, put a basket on his head and holds a brush, Moreku holds bow and arrows and Marang buru hands a sword or pharsa. With these things they all rush to the holy jaher accompanied by the boys of village. Jaher era then, washes the huts. After performing these rituals everyone returns to their home.
Now, Naike take back all materials related to the Bongas and then offer all to take seats on the country made mats. Here he supplies some rice to the boys and asks some goodwill questions. Then, he now asks Bongas to clarify whether they are ready to see the wellness of the society or not . Bongas reply," we are ready to see the wellness of the society."








Then ,Naike washes feet of Jaher era, then Moreku's and at the end of Marang buru's. The rest of water is poured upon them and when it finishes they jumps upwardly and shouts loudly. After this Jaher era starts washing feet firstly of Moreku, then of Marang buru and after these he washes feet of naike and his wife, then of Manjhi, paranik , drummer and musician's. After this they all shouts loudly. Then, Naike take back utensils which were used for washing feet and offer drinks and food to all who are present there.
After all these rituals singing and dancing starts. And this goes through whole night . Only holy songs are sung . Naike and his wife sleeps on mat and this is for holy purposes.
Next morning Naike's wife take bath and then, she grinds some rice. In the meantime Gudet (the messenger) goes door to door takes one hen and a little amount of rice, salt and turmeric from each family.

Naike, after collecting all materials such as holy chain, sakwa, oil , mithi, and some newly made bamboo utensils move to Jaher with some unmarried boys. Young boys and girls follow them singing and dancing.
Naike bathes and then he polishes the grounds of Bonga's premises . Then bongas take their holy materials such as bow and arrows, pharsa etc. and speeds away to jungle followed by the village boys. After selecting a sal tree full with flowers Moreku targets those flowers with his arrows , then Marang buru climbs on that tree and cut down some flowers. Marang buru collects some Mahua flowers from ground. They all now come to Jaher with all flowers and equipment . Naike receives them.

Now Naike asks them to sit under the roof of the huts on mat. Then he sacrifices all hens in front of them and speak some mantras in the name of Baha. After doing all these he put a small bunch of flowers of sal and places before each bonga and he also places a piece of mahua flower to every bonga. Doing this all now starts singing .
                                                                    Now, Naike asks bongas to receive things which are placed before them and then he sides himself. Now bongas sucks the blood of hens. Then Naike washes feet of bongas. Now, Jaher era washes feet of Naike and in return he washes the feet of Jaher era too and then they pour water to each other . Now dancing girls asks for sal flowers from Naeke and starts singing.


All boys and girls take flowers from Naike and johar him. Then all boys and girls returns to the village singing and dancing.
Naike take his part. His share is one reddish hen. He mix its pieces whit rice and cook it to eat by himself with his wife only. Rest is taken by all. Then, Naike proceeds towards his village with flower in a bamboo flat basket and water filled metallic jug and the remaining flower is carried by a village boy . Rest is carried by other boys.
Naike reaches every doorstep of his village. His feet are washed by girls of each home. Then, Naike gives them flowers and pours water on them. After performing this ritual naike returns to his home, pours water on his roof , then enters inside. people follow him and enters his home . Naike serves them some home made wine. Water festival Baha now starts in the village and everyone exchanges water. Boys and girls dances all day.Then reach Naike's home until dusk and then move towards the home of Headman( Manjhi haram) . Then they dances Lagre ( a type of Santhali folk dance).

Janthar Bonga

Santal people celebrates Janthar bonga when paddy get ripen, they worship to bongas and acknowledge their gratitude for helping them in good production of crops. Before bringing them to the house they bring this to sacred ‘Sal’ tree and worship it then later it enables them to take those crop home. That same night, the Nayake(priest) happens to sleep on mate. On the worshipping day,the priest takes the ripen paddy to ‘Jaher than’ where Nayake, Kudam Nayake worship the Marang buru, Jaher Era, Dhorom gosai, Modeku turuyku. Sacrificial of Cock or pig is given and is cooked with cereal of rice and eaten by the villagers and worshippers together.

Nobody reap or bring the paddy to the houses before the ‘Janthar bonga’ .

In this way Santals are dedicated to nature and they worship the nature-Bongas when they cultivate  crops they do ‘Erok bonga’ and as well as when it crops get ripen they do ‘Janthar Bonga’ .This is how they respect the nature and show their gratitude toward the nature.
Janthar bonga santal worships when paddy get ripen
Nayake while worshipping

Janthar bonga
Janthar bonga

Sakrat - Santali festival

Sakrat is celebrated by Santal Indigenous people in 14th/15th January.Sakrat is also known as “BarabareDin”. Haku Katom is celebrated one day before the Sakrat. This day is also known as  “HologHurg Mah”( HologHurg Day).In this day People eat Fish+Meat+ Jill Pith(Bread which is made of Rice Flour and Meat) etc. This day people use Mustard oil in Leg,Hand,Stomach etc. Early morning of Sakrat first Manjhi Baba and Manjhi Gogo then villagers bath in Tupun Gat(Pond/River etc) and wear new cloth. All people bath before the Sun Rise. After that all people go to own home and worship of Bogas(God) and  Ancestors in Bitiri Orah(A Room in home where Sanatl worship). They take the name of ancestors Up to 3 generation. They give sacrifice of cock by hitting cock to his home Doorpost (चौखट).Then villagers go to forest for Hunting, which is called “Sindra”. After returning from Sindra villagers do the “Bejatunj ". They target the pole by arrow which is made of Banana Tree or Aradom, Tree. Behind this there is a story of King and Queen. Where Queen was represent the evil spirit. In the end, Queen was killed by arrow. So people Target the pole to kill the evil. According to Santal Indigenous people Sakrat is the "Last Day of The Year". Sakrat next day they start any new work. Because they believe that first day of the Nawa Serma(New Year) is Lucky day.


jil pitha sakrat
Jil pitha




Jil pitha with gud pitha
Jil pitha with Gud pitha in Sarjom sakam(leaf)


Bejatunj :


Bejatunj is part of Sakat.Sakrat is celebrated by Santal Indigenous people in the month of January .In Bejatunj the Target object/Pole  is made by  1.Aradom(एराडोम) Tree-Santali Name, In Hindi Arandi आरंडी) or 2.Banana tree only. The tree is cutting by only unmarried boy. Target situated in East direction and people take enjoy from West direction. Top of the Target people keep” Sunum Pitha” ,A Santali Dish  which is made by Rice Flour.Then they worship the target pole. First Jogmanjhi Baba starts the Archery then common people enjoy it. Who win, He leaves an arrow toward sky and donates it to people and people target his arrow and enjoy the moment. Target pole is divided / cutting into three equal parts and every equal part is partially broken into two parts in 'V' letter shape. Winner sit on a villager's shoulder and go to Manjhi Than, the worship place of Santal. In some places it seen that if winner is elder person then in the place of winner a child enjoy the ride of shoulder. Target pole which is divided into three part respectively keep in Manjhi Than,Jog Manjhi's House Roof and Parnanik's house Roof. Then people enjoy the Lagre Dance.





















Santal Jewelleries | Ornaments

Santal has their own way to adorn themselves with ornaments. The change in the jewelleries has been come along with the evolution of clothing. In earlier years back, Santal women wore bangles made of terracotta which was called hasa-sakam (hasa-mud and sakam-bangle).  They also used hasa mala (necklace made of terracotta beads). The beads were had made and it was dried after making it hollow. They used it as necklace by putting them in a sequence with a thread.

The hasa sankha and the mala were worn by the women only. The males also wore a bangle the difference was that the female bangle had motifs on the body where as the male bangle had no motifs.  Making of head of the animals and birds on joineries is more interesting in both the bangles.

Though accessories were popular but it was brittle, so it was worn during special days or when there is less physical work to do.
As the time passed on, People started using the ornaments made of bronze whey became able to afford it. In this period Santal women wore a distinct anklet which was ‘Itil Paini’ .


hasa mala



On a top view it looks like a rhombus. It was solid and had some floral motifs on it. It was being made in very small size as compared to the actual size of the foot of the Santal women. So it was a difficult job to put on the itil paini. They put it on with the help of applying oil on the foot which make it little easier to complete the job. Once it is put on then never taken out in life. That stays permanent. If it is urgent to take it out then they cut it by any means.







‘Melhed Sakam’ :
Melhed Sakam is a bangle which has very significant role in the Santal community. It is worn by married women only in left hand. It is supposed to be removed by women when she became widow. In usual days, women do not put vermillion on their partition of head and so it becomes difficult to find out whether she is married or not. But seeing ‘Melhed sakam’ on women’s can easily differentiate that she is married.


melhed sakam worn by santal married women
Melhed Sakam a bangle worn by santal married women 


danda jhinjhri

danda jhumka

different ornaments on different parts of body.

Later then, it was the time for silver and gold jewelries though silver  was preferred as it was more affordable and as for gold jewelries , it was then limited to Jamindari people who were rich.
There were a lot of Santals jewelries but as the time passed on  the today’s mainstream fashion has got those over. The each and every body parts had their own ornaments to wear.Some list of those jewelries are as follows below:
For hair bun: Pan kanta
On side of bun: Sud pasha
Above ear on hair:  Silha
For Ear:   Pagra
For nose: Phuli
For neck: Puisa mala (Coin Necklace)
For arm Baju
Hand:    Bala Sakam (Bangle)
F.ring:   Mudam
For waist: Danda jhinjri
For Ankle: khadu(anklet with solid structure) & Paini (anklet without ghungroos) and pajap (anklet with        ghungroos on it).

Santali Dance Form | Enej

Santal people have very joyous living. As they have community living and thus in occasion of happiness, events and in any festival they celebrate it by singing folksongs and folk dance.
Their dance consists of all holding each other’s hand which shows their communal unity.
But in different occasion, events and festivals their dance form also varies .Like songs, in Marriage ceremony they sing ‘dong’ songs and same dances ‘Dong enej’ .In baha festival, they dance ‘Baha’. Different festivals have different dance forms. Santal has many dance form.
There is mainly 8 dance form, which is traditionally accompanied by two drums: Tamak and Tumda. The flute (Tiriyo) is considered as the most important Santal traditional instrument which evokes the soul and feeling of nostalgia of Santals.



Dong enej :

Taking strides with drum the young men come forward and then the dance commences in two rows, their arms interlinking in pairs. The rows surge forward like rhythmic waves and then recede with supple footwork and swaying heads and bodies. The boys in the row opposite play on flutes, drums, and large cymbals and sing songs in perfect harmony. There are certain rounds of dance, after which women sings songs and the men playing tamak and tumdak also sings the song with context to song sung by women.



Baha enej :

Baha enej(dance) is performed during the eve of baha festival .This dance comprises the men and women . The dance starts with the calling the ‘Nayake’(prist)  from his house to  the Jaherthan . And at Jaher both men and women dances, when all the rituals at Jaher is completed they take the ‘Nayake’ back to his home with dancing in rows this dance form is called dahar enej. When they reach to Jaher, they dance baha enej.







Langde  enej :

Lagnde Dance by women.



This is performed in occasion of joy and any festival. Langde has many form and variation according to the occasion. Like in Sohray festival ‘Langde’ is also danced.









Jhika Enej:
Jhika enej is a dance variant, which is used when any dance form like Langde, dong get to its end. In some places Jhika enej is another dance form.

Dahar enej:
dahar enej dance santali
Dahar enej (Dance)

Dahar means ‘way or road’. Apart from ‘Akhra’, ‘Jaher’ and any particular place, it is danced in road or any path .


Karam Enej:

Karam enej




Karam enej is danced in karam festival, where karam tree is being worshipped  to protect village from disasters, bad evils and so that peace could  rest in village.








Dassai Enej:

It is danced by men only. Dassai is holy dance of Santal people, In this dance people adorn themselves with sapap(Dress and ornaments) of Thakur and Thakran. They wear/use Sharee,Sanka(for hand),Lipur(For leg),Paigon(small bell),Marah Pincher(peacock feather),Iynom(soot),Sunum(mustard oil),Sindur(Vermilion) etc.
                      There are many mythology behind dasai and why it is danced, according to one mythology ‘devi’ and ‘durga’ were the bonga of ojha and they used to be worshipped by oil,vermillion etc this is why in dasai dance people use these . The bonga ‘devi’ and ‘durga’ was taken to somewhere anonymously, and then the master/ojha and disciple dresses like women and visit each houses to search their bonga .

Another mythologies include Mahisasur that durga was Mahisasur, some says  once upon time there used to be a king whose daughter was kidnapped by kings enemy . Then the kings sent a group of warriors to search for the princess. The warriors dressed up themselves like dance performers, used their weapons like musical instruments and props for dance. They behaved like normal people,visited every house of the villages and asked for water, rice or grains in a hope to get any clue about the princess . The dasai song is a grief song.


Danta Enej :
It is a martial dance which shows their bravery skills and they carry their bow –arrow and other instruments.


Sadpa Enej :
Sadpa dance
Sadpa enej.


Sadpa Enej is mainly by women, it is very tough dance to do and needs practice and concentration. It has no any particular time to dance and mainly dance while welcoming someone or guest .

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