Bija Pandu Festival
The Chaitra Parva festival in Odisha is known as Bija Pandu among the tribal people known as Koya who are concentrated in the Malkangiri sub-division of the district of Koraput. The Koya villages are located on patches of clearings in the midst of dense forests.
In each village, there happens to be a Bijigudi or house of Cod. The tribe’s worship, ‘Gudimata’, the Mother Earth, and also the earth whom they call Bhumu. During the festival, they worship the Godlings with liquor and sacrifice an animal or bird.
The festival took its name from the sacred seed. During the festival, the men go out hunting and fishing in groups and return home before dark. During the days the women keep on singing and dancing, waiting for their men to come. In the evenings they unite, feast, drink, and dance together.
The Koyas have a special variety of dances for the festival. Men wear huge headgears of bisson-horns which are richly decorated with peacock feathers and cowries. The drums are cylindrical and unusually long. Women wear brass-caps and hold sticks fitted with tinkling bells which they strike during the dance in between the beats. They dance in circles singing songs of love.
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