Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 22, 1911.djvu/263

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Collectanea. 229

Indian Folklore Notes, III.^ The following notes are based on materials kindly supplied by Mr. Halliday Sparling.

The Marriage of a God. — The highest peak of the Shevaroy Hills in the Salem District of the Madras Presidency is the scene of an annual rite, in which the Malayalis, — not an aboriginal tribe, but a group of Tamils, recent emigrants to the hill country from the Plains, — celebrate the marriage of their tribal god, Sarvarayar, with the goddess of the Cauvery river. He is supposed to be the deified spirit of a famous leader of the tribe. His shrine is a rough structure of granite slabs, rudely carved, and beneath it there is said to be an underground passage to the river Cauvery. Such stories are often told in connection with such marriage rites, as in the case of Muchak Rani.^ After distribution of food to the poor, the priest brings out the images of the god and goddess from the temple, and installs them in cars highly decorated and covered with wreaths supplied by enthusiastic votaries. They are then carried to the summit of the hill, where they are received with showers of coco-nut water, plantains, and rice, which are poured upon them to the sound of drums and trumpets. Then the goddess is lifted from her car to a litter on which she is conveyed to the hill peak, whence the river Cauvery is visible. Here the chief priest, amidst the solemn silence of the people, recites the marriage ritual. At the conclusion of the service the worshippers raise loud acclamations, and the goddess is conveyed back to a cairn on which the image of the god has been placed. From this point the cultivated lands of the tribe are visible, and the deities, as their glances fall upon them, are supposed to fertilise them with their blessings. We may compare with this rite of marriage of the god a similar ceremony at Boghaz-Keui (Frazer, Adonis, Atiis, Osiris, 2nd ed., pp. 108 ei seq.); that of Dionysus with the queen-archon, and of Zeus with Hera, (Farnell, Cults of the Greek States, vol. v., pp. 217 ^/ seq., vol. i., pp. 184 ef seq.); and the legend of the Minotaur and Pasiphae, (Miss J. E. Harrison, Prolegomena to the Study of Greek Religion, p. 482). {Madras Times, June 4, 1908.)

^For II. see vol. xx., pp. 482-5.

^Crooke, Popular Religion atid Folklore, 2nd ed., vol. ii., p. 323.