Thursday, 15 March 2018

Santal Salutation

Salutation is one kind of noble art of showing human behavior like ‘Hand-shake’ or Doing Hats-off. The santali term of salutation is God-Johar. Actual meaning of Johar is fruitful (begging of blessing for success) that is why in santali society Johar is mainly performed to show respect to the superiors or to the God and Goddess to get blessing from them. Santals don’t salute here and there on the road side, they do so when somebody or relative or guest comes to their home. There are several types of salutation s in the society. Only a few of them are narrated below.


Choh Johar is a kind of greeting shown by the elders towards younger ones. Choh Johar is different for men and women. When a women perform chohjohar she touchs chin of the kid with both her hands and then pull it towards itself with the sound of kiss. This gesture shows that she is taking away all the miseries of the kid.
When a men does Choh Johar he brings his right hand over his younger ones head and then take it back to its own head. This is a way of taking away all his sorrows.

This type of Johar is shown by the juniors to seniors or superior with respect to age and relationship. The way of salutation is quite different from one sex to another. When a boy salutes to his senior or superior, he stands infront of him and then bows down his head with his folded hand, but a girl sits in front of the superior and bows down her head with the touching of feet with her joint palms followed by a pan full of water for washing.


BALA JOHAR is a special type of johar (greeting) done by parents and relatives of bride and bridegroom. Style of doing balajohar by mens is different from that of womens. When it is done by mens they stand facing each other holding each others hand. Right hand is held by left and vice versa. Then they gently collide there chests five times in different angles. When it is done by womens they bend a little and hold each others hand and gently collide there heads five times. This johar is done when the relatives of bride and bridegroom meets.


Men is a social animal and lives in a society. Living in a group or society makes their survival easier. Unlike many societysantal villages are not found besides river banks. Villages are settled mostly at the foothills, because forests provides all the necacities that santal people need for their survival. Santal people extensively depends on nearby forest from firewood to woods for building house. Although they are dependent on forest for everything they do not destroy forests. Sustainable use of resources should be learnt from them. Binty says “once santals were called Kherwal, because they were hunters and living on hunting just like kherwal bird which has a very strong wings.
Santals are shy in nature and mostly stays away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Since all the people have their own lands, farming is their main occupation and prefers staying in villages, but now people are changing and slowly migrating towards cities. In the village santalpeope live in mud houses which is neatly maintained and colored with different colours which is obtained from soil. Although santals were once hunters they treat animals with kindness. Santals have different clans or sept and with every clan one animal or bird is associated and that animal is protected by that particular clan.
1. Hanshansly (swan) are the totem of Hansda, so hansda people don’t kill hanshansly bird.
2. One type of deer called Murum is a totem of Murmu clan so they neither kill nor take its meat.
Santals are nature worshippers. Their place of worship is called Jaherthan. It is a open area with lots of Sal trees. Santals do not have traditions of confining their god in a room so they worship in open under Sal tree. Behaviour and traditions of Santals are such that they help in preserving nature. They take from nature only what they need which help in maintaining ecological balance.

Jantal Festival

Jantal word combines of two words: Jang+Tol . Jang means for ‘Seed’ and Tol for ‘sow’ ,thus ‘sowing of seed’. The paddy plants grow to give out panicle during the month of ‘September’. The roots of paddy plants suck or extract water from the soil to live and grow its seeds so It requires the adequate water during this time . To overcome the water scarce, rain is must during this month .If required amount of rain fails to fall the growth of seeds are badly affected which results in low harvest. The healthy growth of the seeds depends upon the good rain only. This is why Santal people observes ‘Jantal festival’ to pray and to beg for good rain and healthy crop.

Unlike other festival ‘Jantal’ is observed in quite different way which is rather more of praying or begging than celebrating like rest of the festivals. Santal believes ‘Marangburu’ to be responsible to cause rain. So all the rituals during this are begged and prayed in name of ‘Marangburu’. ‘Dihiri’ the custodian of the hill decides the date with consultation of villagers and further the following day, people gather to perform this, they bring rams, goats, raw rice and other required things  that are to be handed over to the Dihiri so that he could perform his rituals. Dihiri puts sindur on the forehead of the animals and make them eat raw rice which is placed inside the ‘Khond’. Later the animals are sacrificed and their meat is cooked with rice and is served between all villagers.

Hariar Festival

The meaning of ‘Hariar’ in Santali is ‘Green’. This festival is observed when the mother earth is covered with green crops in the cornfield, green grass in the grazing field and green leaves in the hill top, the Santal people observe their 'Hariar Festival'. This is observed on account of paddy plantation. On the festive day, during the worship Santal asks for blessing and healthy successful crop.
This festival falls in the month of Ashar (July).Hariar festival is also known as ‘Ashariya festival’in some part of the Santal.
With the consultation of villagers and village officials Manjhi has to do decide the festive day.On this day Naike worship Jaher Ayo, Lita Gosain Maneka Turuika in the Jaher Garh and offer them the fowls. While offering, the Naike invokes as "Here by small fowl and broken rice that we are offering you on account of Harior festival, should be accepted gladly. There should be good rain so that paddy field will be flooded with water. From one shoot let twelve shoots come out. Harmful insects, scorpion, snakes that live in the field should be driven out. There should be no ache of belly or headache to any individual during the plantation. There should be no danger to cows, caves and oxen while roaming in the forest" . Kudam Naike peforms his Bul Mayam ceremony for Simasaley Bonga. After-the village feast is over, all along with Naike come back to the village. In the evening people worship Hapram Bangaka at their respective home by offering them the rice beer. The rest of the beer is enjoyed by all the members of the family, At night Lagne dance is performed by young boys and girls under the supervision of Jagmanjhi.

Magh Festival

This is the first festival of the year. It falls in the month of Magh ( January to February). There are twelve months in a year such as 1. Magh, 2.Fagun, 3. Chait, 4.Baisakh, 5.Jheth, 6.Asharh, 7. Shan, 8. Bhadar, 9.Dasain, 10. Sahorai, 11. Aghan, 12.Poush
Santali year starts from the month of Magh. The word Magh is a combination of two words i.e. Mag+ liar. which means to make way by cutting down the obstacles. So magh festival is a very important festival when the activities of human being are concerned as it makes way for so many activities.
On the festive day every house of the village is well cleaned by the respective house wife. Naike , Kudam Naike village officials and the villagers take their purificatory bath in the morning and then go to Jaher Garh. Naike takes with him vermilion, raw rice, rice powder, methy, oil, milk etc. in a winnowing fan . Godet supplies him the sacrificial-fowls to be offered to their God and Goddess and rice, salt, turmeric required for the village feast. He collects it from the villagers and villagers offer him very gladly.
In Jaher Garh there is a Jaher than where Jaher Ayo Lita Closain,Maneka Turuiki, the three prime God and Goddess are placed. Besides them, other Simasale bongas Outskirt God and Goddess) are placed in the separate place. Naike worships the three prime God and Goddess and Kudam Naike worships the other. Some of the Simasale bongas require a few drops of human blood for their satisfaction. Naike cannot offer them his blood. If he does, Joher Ayo will not accept any kind of offer from the Naike. So kudam Naike does the job. This is called Bul Mayam ceremony.
Naike follows some work order during the worship of Bongas in Joher. First he cleans the front space of each bonga and covers it with a thin paste of cowdung. Then he sprinkles over the bonga some holy water and milk followed by anointing with oil and methy. This is called the Holy Bath of Bongas. Then Naike makes a khond on the cleaned place.This khond is nothing but a circle made of rice powder which represents the earth.Within the khond a hand full of raw rice is kept. Then he brings a fowl and makes it pure by putting some.

Paata Dance and Song

PAATA is also one of the famous dances in the santal society. It is like a regional meet of santals, because all other dances of society are held inside the village premises under the supervision of village level official like jogmajhi, but this dance is held outside the village under the supervision of Pargana (Regional head).
The PAATA dance is held once in a year in a region and a good number of male and female of different villages take part in the dance.
The word 'PAATA' has been derived from the word pante, means line by line. Both male and female dance hand in hand in line by line as one line is not at all sufficient to accommodate all the participants of a region and so numbers of lines are made one after another for the convenience of dance. In a Akhra minimum four to five such lines are made where each line can accommodate maximum fifty participants. In a field the number of such type of Akhra becomes not less than four . In day time the number becomes less but at night times it becomes many fold.
Kulhi kulhi Jate chhilo.
Jhinga nari pasi lagilogo
Jhinga nari guchate ghuchate
Sisu chhanda hate dharilogo.

While walking through the village, I ( young girl) get puzzled in a creeper. While trying to get rid of the puzzle, a young boy reached there and caught hold of me.
Most of the PAATA songs are composed in mixed language i.e santali and Bengali. This shows that the PAATA dance is a recent origin. It has no deep root in the society. So its importance in the society is going down and down. Now a days in most of the regions the PAATA (lance is totally abandoned.

Dantha Dance and Song

The word dantha means “ dan and tha” i.e. jump and fight. So dantha  is one kind of fighting dance. In this day only male can take part. As per the oral history of Santal, this dance is as old as Ramayana. When Raja Ramachandra conquered over King Ravan and brought back devi Sita, all his subjects became mad out of joy. Santal people became too and started dancing. From the way of dance and the material used i.e. bow , arrow and sword during dance any body can guess that this dance is no doubt is a fighting dance and the santal people were the true shoulders of Raja Ramachandra. Dantha dance also follows certain- rule and regulation.

  1. In this dance only male can take part.
  2. Flows, arrows-and swords must be in the hand' and the peacock feather be in the head and this peacock feather is nothing but a sign of conquere .
  3. It is held during the saharai festival only which falls after Bijoy Dashani or Dushahara. Other times it is forbidden.
  4. For this dantha dance, dantha songs are there. These are all about Ramayana. These songs are sung only during dantha dance and other times it is for-bidden.

During Saharai festival, a separate type of songs are sung at home. These are called Saharai songs. Some of the songs are full of pleasure and some are of deep sorrow. So to say. Saharai songs are the cross net of pleasure and pathos, which means that during the Raw Ravan fighting some people got back their own men for which their hearts became full of pleasure and some lost their own man which arose a deep sorrow in their hearts,
 Like dantha dance and song , the Saharai songs are the songs of history which proves that santal people- had helped Raja Ramchandra to conquere over Ravana to get back devi Sita.
Dharamero Akharare,
0 koy tumday rui boyha,
0 koy tamak -e rui.?
Dharamero Akhara re
Okoyah lipur sade boyha
Okoyah ghugura sade,?
Dharamero Akharare
Ram tumdah-e-rui boyha
Lakhan tamak-e-rui.
Dharamero Akharare

Ram-a lipur sade boyha
Lakhan-a ghugura sade
Dharamero Akharare
Dharamero Akharare boyha
Ram tumdah-e-rui boyha
Lakhan tamak-e rui
Ram-a Lipur sade boyha
Lakhan-a ghugura sade.

Meaning: - In dharam akhara Who drums on tumdah"? In Dharam Akhara Ram drums on tumdah Laxman drums on Tamak In Dharam akhara Whose tinkling armlet sounds ? Whose jigling bells sound ? in Dharam Akhara Ram's tinkling armlet sounds, Laxman jigling bells sounds.

Rinjha Dance and Song

‘Karam Bonga’ is believed to be the God of wealth in Sanal society. He is worshiped in the month of September i.e. during the period when paddy plants get maturity to give out the ears. During the time of worship, the santals both male and female dance round the God in order to make him pleased so that God will bless every family of the village to be capable enough to give in credit something to somebody. The word Rinja says so . So the dance is known as Rinja dance. This dance is one kind of sacred dance. So,  male and female dance separately in the same platform. While dancing they sing different kinds of praising songs of Karam Bonga. These songs are known as Rinja songs.
Rinja dance and songs are forbidden in other times.

Manag dobon er ke-a
iri ar gunduli,
Ina tayambon er ke-a
 hulu ar kada,
Ina tayam bon er ke- a
Janara ar Ghangra,
Ina tayam bon er ke-a
Dahire rambara
Ashar banga muluk en
Badre hulu dareen Bad baihar balge hariar en
Dua rebon bati
 Seba yabon dharam

Theme :-
We ( the santal people ) first sow cereal like Eri and gunduli, then paddy and Millet, then Maize and Barbati and then Black gram in the field. As soon as rain sets in, all the food grains including grown paddy well and the field becomes green. Let us welcome and worship the God of wealth by lighting the each door with light.

Dahar Dance and Song

Dahar dance as its name indicates is a dance form which is performed on the road(dahar). This dance is performed from the month of Magh and ends with baha celebration in the month of fagun.

There is a tale associated with the origin of this dance, which says ‘ There was a time when santal tribes were busy in fighting with other races for their survival. To conduct raids santal fighters were used to be away from villages and during that time security of the villages were in the hands of womens. During day time it was easy to be vigilant but at night it was hard to be vigilant. Sometimes it used to get boring so to pass time and remain awakewomens used to dance and sing songs at the road side. So this way Dahar dance and song came into existence. This dance is performed by women only without any musical instrument.

Dahar song

Otma kurum hurum hale serma barang barang)
2. SarjarnSaha ho Matkamgele,
MulukBonga ho BahaBonga,
Hisid Hoy ho sandhan hoy,
JiwiNawain ho Harmaynawai,
Ant disharn ho HesejSekej,
JiwiHarmo ho legejlegej.

Baha Dace and Song

‘Baha’ in Santali means flower. Baha is one of the main festival of santals. After the harsh winter when the spring season arrives, trees starts getting laden with flowers, bees starts buzzing from one tree to another and the atmosphere is filled with chipirings of birds. To celebrate this beautiful transformation in nature Baha festival is celebrated. This is the time when sal tree also starts bearing flowers. Sal trees are considered sacred by the santal community.
Baha festival is celebrated inside the premises of Jaherthan where men and women dances separately in tunes of ‘Tamak’ and ‘Tundah’. Bahasereng(song) is also sung in the praise of almighty during the festival. Sal flowers are first offered to the almighty and then distributed among the people.

Baha Song

Jai GosainTeherjdoNaikedoy
Num kana do
Jai GosainTehejdoNaikedoy
Nalkah kana ho
Ketetedoynalkah kana
SekejSekejsade kana ho
Ruileyruileyruiley kana
TokaGhatyredoynalkah kana ho
Num kana ho
Jai gosainmeralghatyredoy
Nalkahhosor ho
Sekejsekejsade kana ho
Ruileyruileyruiley kana

This song is about the purificatory bath that the Naike(village priest) takes on the first day of the festival.
Todaynaike is taking his holy bath, he is cleaning his body with milk on the banks of Soso river.
He is cleaning his head with curd in the Meralghat
While taking bath in the water a fine whirling sound is produced on the surface of the water which is then carried along across the ghat with fine breeze.

Dong Dance and Song

The word 'dong' is derived from the word don ie. jump. So dong dance is performed by jumping only. It is a very much laborious dance. It is held only in happy occasions like marriage and birthday where everybody becomes mad out of joy. Even old man and woman dance hand in hand with jumping .During marriage ceremony like duarbapla, the dance becomes so competitive between the bride and bridegroom party that it continues for days together without stop.
Donq dance follows certain rules and regulations
1. It is performed only in happy occasion like marriage and birth day.ln other occasion even festive occasion, it is forbidden.
2. Unmarried young boys and girls can dance hand in hand freely, but with married lady, it is forbidden.
3. Dharam Akhra is not the only place for this dance, it can be held in open space owned by the family concerned.
4. As it is a very laborious and hard dance there is a periodical interval for half an hour or so . During this period, young boys in a group sing the dong song with jumping in front of the young girls standing nearby. The girls also repeat the song in same manner. In the dancing field there are atleast ten groups of young boys and girls are seen singing the songs of different tunes with different kinds of jump, which creates a colorful scene in the field.
5. Dong dance is a dance of masses where not less than hundred (note necessary) male and female take part. The number of drums is also more proportionatly. Minimum one pair of Tumdah ( Madal ), one pair of Chadchadi and one pair of Tamak ( Nagara ) is used in the dance. During the marriage between two big villages, the number of participants becomes not less than five hundred and so also the number of drums. The sound becomes so high and wide that no birds can take rest in the village. The weightage of marriage is measured, in case of Santals from the number of days that birds are unable to take rest.
Seday tahen Kana jugdo tahen Kana
Gadia Sula leka hariyal
Jharna mundudah leka rilamala
Nahak seter ena Kulikal jug
Newao nipsage sahar en
Hinsa suyage sarel ena

Meaning: - There was a time when era was as green as the grass of the pond as clear as the water of fine spring. Now is a era of Kalijug Quantum of quarel has become many fold and the violence beyond limit.

Langde Dance and Song

Every Santal village has a specific common ground or location  called ‘Akhra’ where villagers,
gather where they dance together and where common social activity like discussion, singing are done
Lagne dance is performed in the akhra. The word 'Lagne means ' Langa Lagay Renang ane’ i.e. Medicine to overcome the tiredness. The Santals are very aborious people irrespective of sex. Generally, agriculture is their main occupation. Both male and female spend most of their day time in the field. So in the evening some amusement is required for them for relaxing the whole day’s tire. And they do it by singing and dancing. Meanwhile they also have their drink ‘Ricebeer’ ‘Handi’ for little hangover.
When there is no specific reason to dance and sing , like other festivals have. Langne is meant for that
So it has no season. It can be performed at any day whenever it is felt to celebrate.
Generally, Lagne dance is performed at night after the dinner . Both male and female take part in the dance. The percentage of young participants is more than the other .
Lagne dance is not at all a laborious dance. So to say., it is a light dance. The movement of legs along with the body rhythmically is the main feature of the dance. So the word " Lagne" is asumed to have been derived from the word legem' means slowly and rhythimically . The pitch of the songs is also very light. In this way, this is how they cheers the tiredness and then get to sleep and next day with new energy they get to work on their daily life.
Noa jibon rasi jobn
Noa joban ado bam nama
Enej jong me sereng jong me
Raska jong me
Noa jiboan ado bam nama

The life is full of pleasure. Once it goes out, cannot come back again. So dance,sing and be happy

Itut Bapla

From ancient, Santal society has belief of considering sindur as Bonga Baha i.e flower of God and Goddess. Marriage rituals in Santal is finished in ‘Sindurdan’ so the use of Sindur is very sacred and important to them. It can be said that using of Sindur is a sacred way to transform an ordinary woman to a Godly woman after which she finds a place in the society as true woman ready to take responsibilities of her family. Sindur on her head is signifies his dignity. Divorcee women and widow don’t get sindur on their head.

So as per the Santals, one gets to get married once in a lifetime, even though under some circumstances second marriage is also allowed but women don’t get sindur on her head. Therefore importance of Sindur is never ignored in Santal society.

Interestingly, If a boy puts sindur on a girl's forehead privately or publicly ,it is also granted as marriage. But it involves the consent from both side. It is a punishable offence in Santal society If a boy is found to put sindur on girl’s head forcefully or against her will.
When marriage between a couple doesn’t seem to be possible due to reluctance of their parents and even if both girl and boy decide to marry each other and so boy puts Sindur in girl’s head privately or publicly, the Santals accept them as a married couple joyfully. And further, village officials convince their parents to accept them and celebrate their new life long relationship with joy and dance. This whole thing in Santal is known as ‘Itut Marriage’.

Sangha Bapla

Santal believes that widow re-marriage is essential because men and women both are equal to each other in each and every field and most importantly, a woman is as much entitled to happiness as a man is. She also needs a partner who supports her through the ups and downs in life. Staying happy is the birth right of each and every citizen and women are no exception.

As per the Santal, the marriage is nothing but a fusion of two souls to one for all times to come in this world or in after world and once the soul gets fused with other, it become amalgamated and no fusion takes place with other in any condition. The soul of a ‘Ra.ndi’ (widow) is fused one and so no fusion takes place with it. Therefore the marriage of a Ra.ndi is not a marriage in true sense but a formal one which on santali term is known as sangha (support) .

Sangha marriage is a mariage of a widow and it is in the society from the very beginning. -Santali philosophy says, a lady becomes widow not due to her bad character but due to her misfortune only. So she has got a prestige in the family as well as in the society. A teen aged widow without having son or daughter enjoys the full share of her husband till her death in the family. If some body from the same family comes forward to marry her , he can enjoy the share in the family. Under this traditional lore, younger brother of deceased man, generally come forward to marry her in order to give her support in pulling on. Sangha marriage is quite different from other marriage. It ends in Baha saonha, not in Sindurdan. According to this marriage, bridegroom does not smear the sindur on bride's forehead. He first puts the sindur in the Gulachi flower and then put it in her hair above the left ear. The marriage of a divorced girl also ends in Baha Saonha only. This Baha Saonha marriage is an arrangement for a widow or a divorcee to place them in the society as a human being.

Kondel Napam

As a tribal, freedom is the born instinct of Santal, this is how they have made their society a society where male and female are benefitted with equal rights. Even in modern civilization we still talk about equal rights and still in whole world, fight for freedom, fight for expression and issue of equal right is still fought on. Instead, Santal boys and girls have full liberty to experience such things like talking, dancing, gathering in any festive occasion. Beside this liberty, they have responsibility to take care of limits that no boy or girl should molest or tease each other in any manner. They may have fun, but they have to take care of limits and comforts of each other.

If a boy and girl are found missing together for a night from family or group, and next day they are found together, few questions are asked to them about their relationship and being missing . If they accept their love relationship, they may be declared as husband and wife. And later on their marriage is fixed. This type marriage where couples are found missing together or found indulged in physical relationship
Is called ‘Kondel Napam’ which means marriage by ‘Intercourse’.

This is also a kind of love marriage where boys and girls get away from home, for few days they live together. And later when everybody comes to know about it, inspite of the disagree of parents for their relationship the village officials ask boy and girl if they admit their relationship and want to spend their whole life together then they are declared as husband and wife.

‘Kondel Napam’ manages to play an important role in the free society such like Santals. It is kind of moral potential force which safeguard the rights and moral character of girl that no boy can get away from her or leave her after physical relationship.

‘Chhadui’ a kind of ‘divorce’ between unmarried couple, actually when a girl is abonded by her boyfriend.
The word chhadui is derived from the word chhada or chhudai which means to be away from woman folk. This is called 'Ganade ,n:ram' or crossing the thresh hold of the door. This is treated as a major misconduct of female which is equal to divorced woman.

Thursday, 1 March 2018

Gardi Jawai : The One where boy stays at bride's house .

“Bity em Beta Nam” is a very  old proverb in the santal society which means if you give daughter you will get son” or in the other sense if you have daughter you have son. So, difference is not so much in between boy and girl in the Santals society. No Santal become so much unhappy having daughter only because he may get easily a young and handsome boy as Gardi jawain for his daughter. The word ghar means distress, Gardi jawain means Ghar din lagit jawain. i.e. jawain for distress day.
This is also a negotiable marriage. The difference of marriage with that of other negotiable marriage is that the negotiation starts from bride side. The Raibarij guides the parents of bridegroom to brides house for Arah duarnel . i.e. to see the landed property and judge the Ere. If both the things are satisfactory, the marriage is settle. On the fixed day bariyats from bride’s house go directly to the bride’s groom’s house and bring the bride groom. The Sindurdan ceremony is held in bride’s house. The bride groom smears the Sindur on forehead of bride. No bride price is required, rather some amount of money are given to the bridegroom’s parent as compensation. All the expenditure of the marriage is borne  by the brides parents.
After the marriage, the boy stays in girl’s house. He, then assits his father in law in all sorts of works includeing cultivation, In case the father in law is too old to work, he himself does all the work. He takes all kinds of responsibilities regarding the management of the house  and ultimately becomes the sole custodian of the family like that of a son. Only one social bar is imposed on him is that he can not perform the last rite of his father and mother in law after their death as the belongs to separate claim or sept. So, the last rite is performed by their agnets and for that some amount of land is to be given to them before the gardi jawain enters in to the house. This provision is nothing but a arrangement for cordial living of new comer with the surrounding i.e agnets.

Tunki Dipil : Type of Santhal Marriage

Tunki means ‘small basket’ while ‘Dipil’ means ‘bearing’, therefore Tunkidipil means- ‘Bearing a small basket on head’ i.e. “A less expensive marriage which is easy to afford”. So this type of marriage is performed in when family wish to take up the marriage in less expensive way and less rituals.
This is also negotiable marriage. Though it is settle stage wise like that of Sange Bariyat and Duar Bapla, The expenditure on each stage is curtailed very much, like number visitors during AhreBahre and Arah Duar nel becomes limited and no feast is arranged for them. There is no concession for bride price and brother due as it is same for all type of marriage. On the following day, five to seven bariyats go to bride’s village. They meet the Majhi and then Majhi along with the two village officials guide the bariyats to bride house where they are welcome and they handed over the ‘Gonom’ to bride’s parent. The bariyats are pleased with good meal. Then they come back with the bride and sindurdan ceremony is performed afterwards. Villagers enjoy the dong dance with pleasure and cheers.

Hadam Bariyat : Type of Santal Marriage

Unlike Sange bariyat marriage, Hadam Bariyat is about the participation of limited numbers of bariyat.  Marriage as one of the most important social institution in Human life which binds two opposite sex with tie of husband and wife which brings an occasion to celebrate and cheers their life long journey that they are going to have, so it becomes
Though in Santals, marriage is not just limited between two families, instead it forms a relation between two villages. To enjoy this grand ceremony, all the villagers participate to be Bariyat. As a result of which the cost of the marriage becomes more. 
                                                                         But what happens in Hadam Bariyat the number of people taking participation in bariyat is reduced to very low. This kind of marriage takes place between two family who can’t afford ‘Sange  Bariyat Marriage’ Since this decision is taken by the ‘Hadam’ or senior family members to maintain the less expenditure on marriage, only a few members of the family take part in bariyat to go to the bride’s village. They begin the journey in such time that they arrive at bride’s village towards evening. So to avoid the lunch as an expenditure on fooding.
The bariyats go straight to Majhi’s residence. Majhi with his officials welcomes them all and enquire about their inconvenience if any, during their journey. If the answer is positive then everybody becomes happy. Then the bariyats are guided to bride’s house by the village officials. Gonom (bride price) is handed over to brides parent. Then the bariyats are pleased with good dinner. At about midnight the bariyats returned back to bridegroom village along with the bride. The next morning when bariyat and bridegroom get back to home ‘Sindurdan’ ceremony is performed. Then dance and music start. All the villagers from young to old participate in the dance.

Duar Bapla or Dol Bapla: Type of Santhal Marraige


Like Sange Bariyat , Duar Bapla is also a topmost, prestigious and costly marriage in the society. So it is seen only in rich family. According to the system of this marriage, bride groom along with the bariyats including male and female go to bride's village with all sorts of drums. There, the villagers receive them with pleasure and place them in a suitable place like mango
groves just outside the village. After while the village officials come to them and enquire about their inconvenience If any, during their journey. If the answer is positive, everybody becomes happy. Then song starts from both the sides and nearby sky becomes full of joy. Young boys and girls of the village with different drums like tumdah. tamak and chad chadi come to the bariyats to welcome them and guide them in to the village. While guiding, drumming and song competition are held on the road. Young boys of both side drum their drumming instruments with different pause and pasture and young girls sing different kind of dong songs to have a win over the other. Within the sphere of competition, the marriage procession proceeds up to the resting room. This is called " daram dah ". Some times daramdah competition becomes so high that the nearby sky and birds become restless. At the dawn, Sindurdan ceremony is performed in front of bride's house. Then the bride and bride groom are taken inside the home and a joint meal is served to them. Morning breakfast and mid day lunch of the bariyats are taken care of by the villagers. But the expenditure is borne by the bride groom parents only.
In this marriage, no Binty or Bariyat sereng heprao is held. Only the dance competition is performed in the afternoon. Both the party dance separately with great pleasure . Young boy’s and girl’s of near by villages come in great number to participate in the dance and women with babies to enjoy the same. Thus in a dance minimum gathering becomes not less than three thousand.
In the evening Gidichumauna ceremony is performed in the courtyard. All the relatives of britie side bless the couple and offer them some gift according to their might. At about midnight the bariyats along with the bride and bridegroom are bid farewell by the villagers.

Ahre Bahre Nel : Santhal Marriage

AHRE BAHRE NEL(Outward Inspection)

This “Ahre Bahre Nel” is a duty of girls party. Before going to deep in to the settlement of marriage, girl’s parents want to have some idea about the status of the family, hereditary disease if any, health and physique of the boy. These are the main factor which the Santal people consider most and are very difficult to know from the man and family concerned. In order to know the above, girl’s father, uncle and other superiors of the family, go the near by haat of the boy’s village with the raibar and while coming back they come through that village and see the boy’s house.
External view of the house is sufficient to guess the status of the family.To have more information regarding their family background, they meet Jog Manjhi, their relatives if any are in that village. Thus they collect information, outwardly regarding their family. This is called Ahre Bahre nel or outward inspection.

Raibar : The Most Important One in Santhal Marriage

Marriage is such a thing in the society which has no direct approach, though every parent from his very core of the heart wants his son or daughter to be married sooner or later. So, a medium is required through which one can convey his opinion openly. In santal society ‘Raibar is such medium and one who practice raibar is known as 'Raibarij'. The word Raibarij means a person who can balance the opinion of both the sides . Some times Raibarij is called as Dahar Dhulire Dhonga Laraoij i.e a man who can sail the boat in the dust. So 'Raibarij is a very capable man who can motivate both the parties in such a way that the settlement of marriage becomes easier and successful.
First step of marriage is to select the suitable and efficient man as raibarij. Any parent who want a good girl for his son , express this feeling in front of Raibarij and Raibarij finds the girl of their choice from paata, weekly haat,festive occasion,community dance or through other reliable sources. If the girl is up to their choice, Raibarij with prior intimation to girl’s parent visit with the parents of the boy and their near relatives go with the Raibarij to see the girl. If their choice coincides with that of boy , they convey the message of their choice to girl's parent as well as the Majhi, the village head of that village. Once the village head comes to know that some negotiation is under progress for a particular girl, he never allows others to negotiate for the same girl unless and until the previous one is cancelled. This is called as Baha Chiya i.e. Finding Bride.

Atu Mone Hor | Godet

It is a assembly of five men . Generally experienced and old man of the village adourn the seat of Mone hor, but they are not the fixed persons. in a meeting any five among the presentee can be taken as a mone hor. Majhi, the village head always takes the opinion of Atu Mone hor before administering the verdict. So it plays a very important role .

The word Godet is derived from the word ‘Goad’ which means to bow down the head. So godet is person who always carries out the message of Majhi. He acts as the Majhi's messenger. He calls the villagers at his call.  Besides this, he collect sacrificial fowls for bonga and rice, salt turmeric for village feast and helps Jogmajhi in social function like marriage birthday and funeral day.
Godet has also no such remuneration. One bundle of paddy from each family in a year is offered to him as a gift. But the respect shown by the villagers is his true remuneration.

Naike : Village Priest | Santal


The word Naike means”Nai-e-kamiya okoy” i.e the person who can serve the best. The santals believe that health, wealth, safety,happiness of the village come from the blessing of the Bongas and Naike is the man who parse that blessing from them through his duty. So, Naike is also an important man to the village. So to say, he is a spiritual head of the village.
As Naike is kind of priest, his selection is done by the men but mostly by the bongas themselves. To select the Naike, the villagers gather at Jaher Garh. Three winnowing fans with raw rice are handed over to three persons who have got power to possess the Bonga in trance. Then a villagers invokes Marang Buru, Jaher Ayo, Maneke Turuika and request them to choose their Naike. Each Bonga possesses a man and this is when villager declare him to be Naike.

Naike is responsible for the worshipping of God and Goddess in Jaher Garh. He worships God and Goddess only in festive occasion in the presence of the villagers. Sacrificial fowls, rice for village feast are obtained from the villagers and other materials like , methi, sindur, rice powder, oil are arranged by him.
Naike also live a common life like other villager. He also go to field for crop. When festival’s worshipping are not around he lives like common man, only when his duty is needed he act as Naike and do worshipping. He has also no remuneration. In olden days one or two acres of land were being awarded to him. Now-a-day no lands are awarded. Honor  from the villagers is the only remuneration to him.

Majhi : Village Headman | Santhal

Within the establishment of Santal village, Majhi is appointed whose main concern covers up the issue like social, religious and economic issues within the village. He is responsible to establish the exchange of thought of people.

If sickness breaks out in the village or any dispute arises or a tribal offense is committed he can summon the village meeting and presides its discussion. At the end of the meeting, he interprets the sense of village and announces its decision. The decision taken in village meeting is equally the mature outcome of views of its people.
Majhi’s decision is considered as a decision of the whole village, where everyone satisfy and convince in a common way.

Santhal Majhi, village officials
Village represenatives during Santhali Marriage.

That’s why the decisions taken by Majhi are always bilateral. It's not something like victory or lose of someone but to reach such a point where the village and both the parties are satisfied and the decision is compatible to them.

The philosophy behind this can be understood in the very simple term, like how can a village imagine to be happy or celebrate its festival singing and dancing Santhali folk songs and folk dance while some of it’s people are disappointed and there is some sense of disregarded left among them.
So it is very important for a Majhi to keep up these value in the within the village and ensure the prosperity of the village.

To understand the self-rule system of Santals, how they govern themselves and how their village council work, you should give a look to this article here: Self-Rule | Santhal Community.

One of more duties of Majhi is to look after the ongoing and upcoming events of the village like rites of birth, initiation, and death, marriage, annual hunt, the conduct of year's festival. Because he is chosen by people, he is held as the custodian of village property - the community wells, roads, river, forest and mountain near to them and also the administration of 'Jaher' sacred grove.

The common Santal attitude is to regard him as the father of the village and hence sometimes he is also called 'Majhi Baba' the father of the village. At his death, there is often genuine grief and in his memory, a stone is placed inside the hut which was built outside to Majhi house during the foundation of the village.

Majhi has a numerous number of role to play, The one among them is ‘Santal Marriage’.

In Santhals, Marriage is not a subject that takes place between two families but between two villages. It ties up two villages together and let them form a common way through them. Before marriage, the family informs Majhi about his family’s ongoing and invite him to Marriage. Majhi with his other assistant visit to family’s house, ask about where the marriage has been fixed, Majhi tells his assistant to be present during the marriage process and he himself is also present throughout during the events.
The leading role in some rituals during a Santal Marriage is mostly played by Raibarij, Majhi with his assistants and Atu Mone Hor

One might think that why this interference of village or Majhi is so important in someone’s family matter ?

The reason is, as Santhals are very socially organized people. What their ancestors have passed to them is just an organized way of thinking which make common action inevitable among them so that in case of confliction it can still be easily figured out.

Suppose, after marriage if a bride comes to face any problem  or trouble from his husband’s family,
Does she have anybody there to share her problem who can solve it?

Here comes the role of Majhi.
Since from the first-day bride becomes familiar to the Majhi of his husband’s village and same with Majhi. Now she can go to Majhi House and explain her problem, Majhi has to take immediate notice he takes this new bride along with him to her house, and first, he tries to solve this within the family. If in case, the bride’s family does not seem to corporate or get convinced. The Majhi then informs this matter to the Majhi of bride ’s village. And through the proper channel of village communication, the bride’s family get the message.

If the matter is serious, Both Majhi decides to call for a meeting where both families will have to be present with some of their fellow villagers. And finally, they both reach a conclusion which is usually in the interest of both family and bride too.