Karam: Indigenous festival gets a spirited celebration
'Karam Puja', a major festival of the Orao -- an indigenous community living in the northern districts of Bangladesh. Young indigenous girls observed a dawn to dusk fast on the first day of the festival. In the evening they prepared special dishes for guests and kinfolk and served them after offering the food to their deities. Later they fetched branches of the Karam tree from the nearest point in a colourful procession, while boys and girls sang and danced to the beats of drums. At sunset they built an altar, where they planted the branches of the Karam tree. During the ritual, young indigenous men and women danced around the altar. The priest began the puja by reciting verses explaining the significance of the festival. According to researchers, the Karam festival is a way of the indigenous people expressing their affinity with nature. They also pray for happy conjugal lives through the puja. The festival ended the next day with offering branches of the Karam tree to the Tangon river. The festival starts on the last day of Bhadra and ends on the first day of Ashwin, according to the Bengali calendar.
Labels: Cultural anthropology