Oraons & Sarna Religion (Part-III)

The Gotras system of Oraon is based on natural totem systems and it is one of the most important social institutions of Oraon tribe.

Gotra system directly influences the marriage and it is believed to be based on Lord Dharmesh’s directions. Gotra in simple words mean a vast family line that can trace back their heredity source to an ancestral foundation of a single family. As the ancestry can be traced to single family, it is believed that Oraon individuals belonging to the same Gotra, they trace their roots to the same family, hence they are considered to be blood relative and the marriage within the same Gotra is strictly prohibitated as it is a basic foundation stone of a tribe.
These Gotras have been derived from the names of animals, the plants and other living things that have helped their families at the time of distress. Every Gotra or a Totem has their own folk-tales and as a mark of respect these animals, plants, etc. are worshipped and are never ever hurt by these families. Few of the important Gotra are: Aind (a fish), Ekka (tortoise), Oregora (Kite), Kujur (a fruit), Kerketta (sparrow), Khalkho (a fish), Khakha (crow), Gadi (Monkey), Toppo (a bird), Barwa (a wild dog), Bakhla (a grass), Minz (a fish), Lakra (Cheetah), Linda (a fish), Bara (a tree), etc.
The majority of the Oraon tribe’s festivals trace their origin in their hunting and the agricultural based economy. These festivals are celebrated in typical adivasi style; they participate in the usual round of traditional kurukh songs, community dancing, harian drinks (rice-beer), feasting, etc.
In the Fagu festival, the Goddess Chandi is worshipped, she is thanked for providing food and other items to the tribe from the forest. It is celebrated during February – March and young oraon participate in the two days long celebrations that include bonfire, dancing, hunting (Fagu-Sendra), etc.
The Sarhul or Khaddi festival is celebrated in March-April every year and it is considered to be the most important festival of Oraons. The Sarhul is also known as Khekhel-Benja, the term Khekhel-Benja means holy Earth’s marriage with the lord Sun. In traditional Oraon farming community, the marriage of the Sun’s beneficial rays and the Earth’s immense fertility is celebrated. It is the most important festival of Oraon and they worship the Mother Nature for showering its blessings onto humanity.
One of the important Sarhul songs in Kurukh language goes like this:
(Kurukh Song)  
Tela Dasba Gosain, Makka Dasba, Gosain Saareim!
Haiyere Khaddi Manout, Hoiyere Fagu Manout, Gosain Saareim.
(English Translation)  
O God of Keandu Tree, O God of Saal Tree, Fagu God, Sarhul God!
O It is Sarhul, O It is Fagu, Fagu God, Sarhul God, Come on, let us celebrate together!
It is a festival of welcoming of new flowers, fresh fruits and other natural produces made available to us. In the ancient times, the Oraon villagers never used to pick new seeds, flowers, fruits, roots, etc. from the forest area for their consumption till the conclusion of Sarhul festival in the village. They believe that it has direct bearing on availability of their food items for them.

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