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Author: Site Administrator
Article Category: Culture, Information
  Published on May 05, 2003 : 07:32:35 AM
Excerpt from Mortuary Ritual of the Badagas of Southern India by Paul Hockings, submitted by Dharmalingam Venugopal

Korumbu is part of a concluding part of the funeral. Some day after the funeral a ceremony to release the soul, called Korumbu is performed at the Great House (Doddamane). (These days, when mourners have to come from far and wide and leave as early as possible, I think it is done on the same night of the funeral).

Korumbu is not done for children or for any vegetarian Badagas. For men it used to be on the next Sunday night after the funeral, for women on the next Thursday or Sunday night. Since Monday is the day sacred to male gods and Friday the day sacred to Goddesses, the Korumbu must be performed on the eve of either day, and it continues until dawn. Only men participate, beginning late in the evening, while the widow must stay outside the house. (In the earlier days, a Toreya village servant should beat a drum and ring a bell to summon participants to the ceremony. In the 1930s he was paid 1.25 rupees and 10 measures of rice (about 37 litres) for such services). Otherwise the headman himself come to the bereaved house and sends some other messengers to invite the villagers to attend, at least one man from the house.

It was reported that early in the 19th century, the Korumbu was always performed on a Monday, but this must have meant Sunday night and Monday morning.

It is not performed for any boy without a mustache or for any girl before she has undergone menarche, unless she was already married at the time of death. However, on the morning just after the child's funeral, well to do parents will give a meal to any relatives present, while poor people will give at least coffee. Then on that same day , the relatives always purify themselves.

Traditionally, four plant leaves, four measures of grain, four measures of beans, and four new pots were used in the rites.

In the former times, but not today, it was the practice, if a headman was widowed, for his brother to perform the Korumbu ceremony in his place. This was so because a headman would lose prestige and the right to make offerings (kanike) to the Gods if he ceremoniously became a widower.

After the funeral, Wodeyas go back to the house of the bereaved, view the lamp that is burning there, and then feast themselves. No prayers are offered. On the following day, they pour milk, along with nine different kinds of grain, on to the grave. Then, on the Monday after the burial, the titti ceremony is accomplished during daytime, unlike the korumbu in other Badaga phratries. If the burial occurred on a Monday, the most sacred day of the week, then the titti will be performed on the following Monday. Invitations are sent to all the male relatives. The feast is initiated by the same man who had carried the crowbar to the burial ground. At the titti ceremony he carries a crowbar again, and cooks a special food in the house of the bereave. Nine elders are called from the village , and they sit cross-legged, each with a brass plate on his lap. The man serves them the special food. The eldest son the of the deceased is the only Wodeya to receive a tonsure. If there is no son, the younger brother of the deceased receives it. The tonsured man is then given the linga case ( Karadage) that had belonged to the deceased, but without the linga.

All this takes place in the back part of the inner room where the men are sitting. The one who has cooked stands in the doorway between the two rooms, then lies prostrate in it while the nine elders say blessings over him. Then they eat the food, and the remainder is given to any others present.

(This is an excerpt from, Mortuary Ritual of the Badagas of Southern India by Paul Hockings). This is the most recent publication of Prof. Hockings.

- Dharmalingam Venugopal


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