Orissa Tribes of India
Orissa is one of the most beautiful
regions of the eastern India nestling on the shores of Bay of Bengal.
The main charm of the state lies in its exotic sandy beaches,
plenteous wild life, primitive lifestyle and holy temples famous for
their architectural splendor. The charisma of the city is still not
explored and unrevealed by the visitors, up to its full magnitude.
The other lure of the city lies in its tribal population dotted with
more than 62 tribal communities. Orissa is a state, embellished with
hilly terrain of the Eastern Ghats, where primitive tribes dwell and a
beautiful stretch of the Indo-Aryans coast where modern life persists.
A blend of 2 discrete civilization with contrast cultures, beautiful
landscapes, beaches, rich wildlife, offers the best of India to its
tribal communities of Orissa constitute about 23% of its total
population. Orissa is inhabited by tribes like Saora or Sabar that had
a respectable mentioning in the epic of Mahabharata.
¤ The Tribal World of Orissa
Mostly the Orissa tribes are high land habitats with opulent ethnic
trait, cultures and customs dominated by varying languages. The
culture conscious tribes are able to preserve their social customs and
dignified values. The most primitive tribes are Bondas, Gadabas,
Koyas, Kondhas and Sauras.
The districts of Mayurbhanj, Keonjhar Phulbani, Sambalpur, Kalahandi
and Koraput are main tribal regions. About s 62 tribes exist in Orissa
most famous among them are - Kondhs, Koyas, Bondas, Gadabas, Santals,
Juangs, Oraon, are some important tribes who are still maintaining
their individualism and their close association with mother nature.
¤ Tribal Culture
The rich Orissan tribe culture is well depicted in its fabulous folk
songs and dances. Its tattoo art can be well traced in modern life of
city. The tribal form of poems, art and craft or music are also one of
the main attractions of Orissa State.
The tribes have adapted the Hindu traditions and culture from
centuries, which has merged with their own culture in such a way that
it gives a distinct zest to the entire racial. Songs and dances are
the essence of the tribal culture of Orissa. The traditions and the
ceremonies for wedding, birth and death all are represented by singing
songs, rural dances along with feasts.
¤ The Tribal Folk
Orissan tribes are strong, hard working and simple benevolent tribes,
normally like to be reserved and maintain distance from the people of
other communities, as they are too shy. The major occupation of these
tribes is agriculture and fishing and hunting. Men usually wear loin
attire and women rap long stretch of cloth around them. Women are
adorned with ornaments like bangles, armlets, bracelets, necklaces,
rings, hairpins etc usually made of silvers, aluminum, and brass. The
practice of tattooing is prevalent among women folk. Girls above 5
years are found with tattoo mark on their faces and hands.
¤ Specialization of Comb Coveting
Of the sixty-two tribes dwelling in Orissa, 12-15 tribes know the art
of comb coveting. The tribal communities of Orissa make some of the
most exquisite combs, and use them not just to put tresses in place
but to ward off evil, flatter a lover and weed out thorns from the
body. According to a legend, the origin of the combs is traced to the
time when one unfortunate day, people started dying of an unknown
disease. Jakini Penu, the tribal deity in response to the king's
prayers advised the king to make a comb out of bamboo and palm, and to
comb his hair regularly.
Siredi, as their combs are known, come in two shapes, quadrangular
for men and circular for women. No two combs are the same; some are
sought for their artistic value, some for the material they are made
of (ox and buffalo horns, cloth and even palm sap) and others for
their magic powers.
¤ Festival Celebration
Tribes believe in worshipping of numerous deities and perform rituals
and ceremonies for a blissful life. Many festivals are also celebrated
with much of devotion, through out the year in order to appease their
deities and ascendant. The most significant festival of the year are
the 'Chaita Parab' and 'Push Parab' the day has a special attraction
as all men of the village go on a hunting expedition. The additional
charm of the festival are the cultural tribal dances, the songs and
the music performed by the talented folk of tribes, treasuring their
rich customs that differentiate them from the other non tribal groups.
The famous Tribal Fair at Bhubaneswar commences from the last week of
January to early February. This gives an opportunity to understand the
life of this racial world; their art, craft and culture. For those
enthusiastic for a closer look, tour operators from Bhubaneswar and
other cities arrange trips for the tribal regions.
The Tribal Museum at Bhubaneswar however is quite extensive and
provides competent information on the art, crafts housing and
life-styles of the various tribal groups.