Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 26, 1915.djvu/59

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an Autumn Festival of the Hindus. 49

Bengal at various festivals the deities are immersed in the •same way.^^ We may interpret this as a rain or fertility charm, or suppose that the object is to purify and re- invigorate the goddess and fit her for the performance •of her duties in the coming year. During the Ganggor festival in Rajputana, at the opening of the Hindu year, the image of the goddess Gauri is taken to a lake and bathed by women, no male being allowed to attend the rite. The ritual is accompanied by the growing of "Gardens of Adonis," women joining hands and singing round the seedlings, which they present to men to wear on their turbans.^^

Another, and perhaps the most important phase of the Dasahra rites, represents a rite de passage, like the Holi at the opening of the Hindu year.^^ The great Dasahra day as considered highly auspicious for the undertaking of any new work or business. Children who are commencing their studies generally attend school on that day for the -first time. It is also considered to be a suitable day for a couple who have been married at an early age to •commence living together.^^ In Cochin the child beginning his studies at the Dasahra is seated near a bell-metal vessel full of rice, with a lighted lamp placed beside it. The teacher writes with a gold coin on the child's tongue an invocation to the deities Vishnu, Sarasvati and Ganapati, who favour all kinds of enterprises. Sometimes the opening of the child's education on that day is marked by his parents presenting him with writing materials.^- In Sindh the rite of tonsure of a child is performed at the Dasahra

58 H. H. Wilson, Works, vol. ii. (1862), p. 191.

5^J. Tod, op. cit. vol. i. p. 602 sq.

^^ Folk- Lore, vol. xxv. (1914), p. 78.

^^ Bombay City and Island Gazetteer {igo^),\o\. i. p. 112 sq. ; E. Thurston Castes and Tribes of Southern India (1909), vol. vii. p. 73 sq,.

  • ^Anantha Krishna Iyer, Cochin Tribes and Castes, vol. ii. (1912), pp. 61,

^04.

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