Oraons: The KARAM / KARMA Festival (Part-III)

Fasting during Karam-Festival
The entire family, in fact entire community observe fast; boys, girls, married-couples, including the parents; as this is a very important festival for all of them.
The persons who are responsible for the cutting and planting of Karam branch, then for them it is imperative to fast. Generally the unmarried Boys cut the Karam branch, while the married men and women place Karam branch in the ground; however many a times the married women take the lead in planting the said branch.
Karam-Song in Kurukh langugage for the occasion goes like this:
O! – Ne Tangda Karam Upaas Nanee,
Kida Ti Maneem Sokaye Mani (Re) – 2
Ki! – Mahto Tangda Karam Upaas Nanee,
Kida Ti Manim Sokaye Mani (Re) – 2
{It means: Whose daughter is observing Karam-fast, whois feeling very hungry; Mahto’s (village headman) daughter is observingKaram-fast, she is felling very hungry}
The fasting starts on the evening preceding the festival. On this evening, one is allowed to eat Milk and Chuara (made of rice).On the day, when Karam-branch is planted, the fast is observed. On this day the Boys and Girls do not go for work. The Girls go out to find the flowers (“Phool-Lorne”)in the day and come back before evening.
Cutting Karam-Branch
Around 6’o clock in the evening, the devotees cut the Karam-Branch. They devotees bring Balua (Sand), Arwa-Chawal (Rice), Arwa-Soot (White Thread), Sindoor (Vermillion), Fire, Dhuwan (Incense), and Ghee (a typeof Butter). Amidst the sound of traditional music, they sing and dance aroundthe Karam-Tree in joyous celebrations.
The boy who cuts the Karam- branch, he is usually of unmarried-status and he sits in front of tree facing the east direction. After that, he cleans the area surrounding the tree, covers the ground near the tree with Gobar (cow-dung), called Gobar-leepna and then he goes around the tree 7 times, ties the Arwa-Soot on the tree, puts Sindoor on the tree. After he places the auspicious fire near the tree, he burns the Dhuwan and Ghee; to start the Pooja (prayer), the prayer in Kurukh language goes like this:
Hei Karam Raja, Dharam Raja!
Aiteke Ulla Neen Tonka Torang Nu Rahichak,
Khonta Mann Nu Rahichak–Inna Nigan Hooa Barach Kam.
Inna Neen Karam Raja Akhra Nu Raiyu – Akhra Nu IjjakaRaiyu.
Hei Karam Raja, Dharam Raja!
Eida Einaa Aem Paricha Lagdam.
Einderoge- Aintege-Dhanege, Khurage – Padhage,Khadhage-Kharage-
Urmi Nu Nighehain Barakayeet Baraa Nekaan.
{It means: Hei Karam Raja, Dharam Raja!
For so many days, you have stayed in Jungle-Tarn,
you have stayed in Khunte, today we have come to take you.
Today you will be in the Akhra (common worship /dancing place), 
you will stand in the Akhra.
Hei Karam Raja, Dharam Raja!
See, today we are showering flowers,
We want your assistance for food-grains, wealth,village, country, 
children, for everyone we want your blessings.}
After the conclusion of the prayer, he showers Arwa-Chawal on to the tree and climbs on the tree. Meanwhile the Girls pluck the Sakhua-Patti (Sakhua-leafs). He cuts 4 to 5 feet long-branch, which has 3 small branches and hands over to the Girls, who have observed fast. The Girls catch the branch without letting it touch the ground. However, in some other places, only the Boys who have observed the fast, they catch the Karam-Dalli (branch) and the girls take the branches on the way to bring the Karam-Dalli tothe Akhra.
The 3 branches hold important meaning, they signify:
  • First branch is cut in the name of Almighty Dharmesh and others.
  • Second branch is cut in the name of the village.
  • Third branch is cut in the name of the family.

The Girls hold the Sakhua-Patti and the Karam-Daali(branch) with great care. After this everyone returns back to the Akhra, again singing and dancing on the way. In the Akhra, everyone takes 3 rounds with Karam-Dalli and assemble at a place.
Karam-Song for the occasion goes like this:
Naini Go Naigini Barai Naigini – 2
Karma Ge Isung Chiua Karma Ge Sinduri – 2
Naiga Go Naigini Barai Naigini – 2
Karma Ge Isung Chiua Karma Ge Sinduri – 2
{It means: Pujarin O Pujarin (or one who performsprayer/pooja) -2.
Come Pujarin, give us Oil, Sindoor -2.
Pujarin O Pujarin -2.
Come Pujarin, give us Oil, Sindoor 2.}

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