The Third Day: Arrival of the purani Buffaloes and Giving Away of the Buffaloes

The buffalo for rau is the first one killed outside the village, before first light on the third day. As soon as the animal’s belly has been slit with an ax, the men[1] [2] fall on it in order to pull out its intestines. Finally, the sponsors’ panjabai take the buffalo’s rear half, the moitr its front half (Pfeffer 1991, 80). Over the course of the morning, the buffaloes are adorned and finally led out of the village to the external platform (panja munda; in Izikowitz, gotr langbo*). Here, the buffaloes are tied to new simli branches previously set up next to the old stones from the days of the village founders. The women weep over and feed the buffaloes here as well, while the tsorubai and panjabai celebrate their upcoming receipt of their buffaloes in a relaxed mood.

As in Izikowitz’s description, the external buffalo-bringers - unambiguously identified by Pfeffer as affines of the sponsors - suddenly appear on the horizon and charge into the assembly. They have first held a kind of “mini-gotr” (Pfeffer 2001a, 116) in their own village for their MB or FZ, tying up a buffalo referred to as purani, and their own panjabai have brought them boulders in their village.^7 They departed from their village together with their panjabai, and they now set upon the more senior affines, but advance only as far as the boundary of the actual sponsors’ village. Here, the duma of the deceased MB or FZ awaits and is transferred into the purani buffalo, until then “‘unloaded,’” when the boundary wall is touched (Pfeffer 2001a, 117). The affines and their panjabai immediately turn around and are at once pursued by the sponsors’ agnates, so that a struggle for the purani buffalo begins. Different groups try to knock the buffalo down and cut its belly open. Once someone succeeds, all participants try to rip out the entrails and cut off the animal’s tongue. It may happen that various of the affinal groups reach the site of events with their buffaloes at the same time. Pfeffer (1991, 82) emphasizes that although it is in part agreed in advance which affinal groups will bring purani buffaloes, the concrete situation in not lacking in spontaneity. Following the combat over the purani buffaloes, the sponsors’ buffaloes are turned over to the panjabai and moitr, who hurry off with the animals. The buffaloes are killed and eaten in subordinate feasts over many weeks.

  • [1] Antagonistic categories of the sponsors’ panjabai and tsorubai are said to be especiallyinvolved (Pfeffer 2001a, 112).
  • [2] These stones are set up in this village at a location different from the lineage platform,since the MB - despite the ritual claims of the affinal challengers - must be separated fromone’s own agnates (Pfeffer 2001a, 116 and n25).
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