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

Planting of Karam – Dalli (Branch)
The boy, who is responsible to place the Karam-Dalli;he brings a Lota (pot) filled with water, Sabbal (an iron rod used fordigging), Diya-Batti (an earthen pot and a light), Ghee and Milk. After digging the earth, the 3 branches are tied together with 7 rounds of thread, once they are bunched, they are placed in the hole, the water is poured and the soil is filled. Then the Boy lights the Dhuwan, pours milk, offer Ghee, uses Sindoor, and perform 3 times Pranam / Namaskar (salutation); after the conclusion of the Pooja (prayer), the boy leaves for his home along with the other Boys and Girls, who have assembled there. In their homes, they pray to their Gods, Goddesses and their ancestors.
Decoration of the Daliya
The unmarried Girls (young women) who have observed fast, they decorate their personal Daliya (the small wooden basket).
For Daliya, the girls usually use two types, First, made up of Bamboo and Second,made of other stuff. In the Daliya, two pieces of new clothes dipped in Haldi (Tumeric) are placed; one of the cloth-piece holds the Kheera (cucumber) andthe second cloth-piece is used to cover the Kheera. By the side of the Kheera,one lighted Diya (an earthen pot) is placed. Then two Datvan (small-woodenstick) taken from Sakhwa Tree is placed, these are then covered with Rendi or Pechki (or Kuchu) Pattii (leaf). Lastly the Arwa-Chawal (rice-grain), Jawa-Phool (flower) and Chiuraa are placed in the Daliya; after that the Girls take their Karam-Daliya to the Akhra.
Prayers at KaramFestival
In case the Girl is observing fast for the first time and has received her Karam-Clothes, then she wears them and taken to the Akhra-Sthal along with her parents, that may take the form of a community-joolosh (procession). The Girl is usually carried by either by her Father or Uncle (Chachaji); while her mother carries the Daliya in her left hand and Lota-Panni (water in a small pot) in her right hand. The person carrying the girl completes the 7 rounds of the planted Karam-Dalli; while taking round, the mother walks behind them and pours the water behind her back. On the completion of 7 rounds, the Girl is asked to sit in front of the Karam-Dalli, while her Daliya is placed beside her. Like this all the fasting Girls are carried and placed in the front of the Karam-Dalli. After everyone reaches the Akhra-Sthal,the fasting Girls distribute their Chawal (rice-grain) and then the public-narration of the Karam-story starts by one of the elders of the village / urban neighbourhood. After the Karam-story ends, the Boys get up and dance; while the Girls carry their Karam-Daliya and go back to their homes.
Karam-Song in Kurukh language for the occasion goes like this:
O! – Karam Doaraan Gucha Bauake,
Malla Hole Chepere Manoo.
Ki! – Parin Bari Gucha Bauake,
Malla Hole Chepere Manoo.
{It means: Move the Karam-Daliya,
or else it will be broken.
Move it in the morning,
oe else it will be broken.}
Barring handful of people, most of the people leave for their homes to break their fast. At homes, the Parents give their Children who have observed fast, their Turra-Pagdi, Dhoti, Chaurasi, Ghunghroo, etc. After that everyone return back to Akhra to participate in community singing and dancing; and this celebration usually goes on beyond the wee hours of morning.

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