Feeding the Buffaloes, Feast, and Arrival of the Buffalo-Takers

Already on the day before the chief day, the village was swarming with outside guests. Not only were the sponsors welcoming their affines, some of whom brought cattle with them, but all other groups were also awaiting their relatives who were coming for a visit on the occasion of the gotr. Early in the morning, the dissari conducted a ritual intended to ward off harmful magic (nosto), first in Komlu’s house, then in the others and at the cooking hearth. In particular, the decimation of the rice for the feast by means of magic spells (montor) had to be prevented. At each location, the dissari buried a small bow, a wild cashew nut (kala balia), and an egg. The rice was measured out in the houses, and a new clay pot was the first to be set on the longitudinal outside cooking hearth for the feast. Cattle and goats for the feast were slaughtered in the afternoon.

Meanwhile, in front of Komlu’s house, under the eaves, the Maji as the junior tsorubai of the Kirsani cooked bur tsoru for the deceased Ranju. Although he was already in his new buffalo body, the bur phase of the mortuary rituals could not be entirely skipped, and so an abbreviated version of the bur was performed and tsoru prepared, separately from the gotr.

Early in the afternoon, the Maji brought the first boulders to the internal platform (ga munda) in a procession with dancing and shouting. They were greeted there with tika, the stones were washed with turmeric water by the women from the sponsors’ group, and then the simli branches were set up. On the way there, the tsorubai had already been pelted with dung by the women of the village, and some of them already had their faces painted black or in bright colors. Other than the sponsors, who were very focused on their tasks, and the dissari, it already appeared that no one in the village was still sober at this point.

The preparations for the feast ran late, so the meal took place in darkness. Unlike other villages, which are often technologically well-equipped for such occasions (with solar-powered stereos and lamps), only the cooking hearths were illuminated in this case, and the moon was not yet high, so that everyone sat in darkness, and things were relatively chaotic in comparison to other feasts.[1] [2]

Shouting and swinging sticks, the senior tsorubai from Chandalamanda and the panjabai from Tikrapada then arrived in the village, one after the other, and set up the stone slabs they brought with them at the ga munda. These groups were also greeted, after which all the buffalo-takers danced before the animals lined up there. These had been fed (gada mara) all day long and now faced competition in the form of the panjabai and tsorubai, who ripped the platters of food intended for the buffaloes out of the women’s hands, appropriating the duma’s food for themselves.

  • [1] Pfeffer (2001a, 106f) remarks on the frequent combination of supposedly “traditional” and“modern” characteristics. The Gadaba in the Onukadilli area are very conservative in their dress,but no longer celebrate gotr (except for the crab gotr), unlike the Gadaba further east with theirmore “advanced” attire, as in Gudapada. The latter group, on the other hand, considers it“primitive” to drink beer from gourds. In Ponosguda, still further to the east, near Nandapur,many of the younger women wear saris in the “Hindu style,” and men in pants are also notunusual. There was no use of electric lights or stereo equipment at the gotr, however, while thisequipment drones day and night in other villages on comparable occasions. Beer was also drunkfrom gourds as a matter of course, despite the relative wealth of the sponsors.
  • [2] At first it was said that the dissari had raised objections to a buffalo sacrifice; others saidlater that the sponsors had been unable to agree on which of their buffaloes should be killed asthe rau buffalo. Everyone wanted his buffalo to be on view at the external platform on the chiefday.
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