Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/390

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302 COORG FOLKLORE.

the whole family sit down in the kitchen and eat the cakes prepared by the mistress and the other females after their morning entrance into the cooking and dining rooms. When these cakes are consumed the ceremony is over. The cakes in the field are gathered by the Holeyas, the serfs of the Coorgs. (149-150)

The Huttari feast is held in honour of the annual rice harvest. It is the great national festival of the Coorgs and the Holeyas, their serfs, and no Brahmins can take part. Six days before the chief festival of tasting the new rice all the males from six to sixty years assemble on one of the Mandus of the Grama after sunset. When the assembly is full a space is marked out for the performance. Three Coorg men step into the centre and call aloud three names : Ayappa ! Mahadeva ! Bhagavati ! The men stand in a triangle, their faces towards the centre, their backs towards the company. Ayappa is the Coorg forest god, Mahadeva the Siva of the Hindus, and Bhagavati his wife. The assembly performs different kinds of plays and dances representing the wars which in ancient times appear to have been waged between peoples of different districts. A man is wounded ; a physician is called to prescribe for him. Another wounded man dies, and Holeyas are called to invite his friends'to the funeral. A scene of demoniacal possession is acted. The funeral is performed. Dances follow and feats of gymnastic strength and agility. The Huttari takes place at full moon. Early in the morning before dawn a quantity of Ashvatha {Ficus reltgiosa), Kumbali, and Keka (wild trees) leaves, some hundreds of each for great houses, together with a piece of a creeper called Inyoli, and some fibrous bark called Achchi, are collected and deposited in a shady place for the use of the evening. During the day the house is cleansed, brass vessels are scoured. Beggars come and are dismissed with presents. The Meda brings the Huttari basket, the potter the little Huttari pot, the blacksmith a new sickle, the carpenter a new spoon, the Holeya a new mat. Each carries off his portion of Huttari rice and plantains. The astrologer follows to communicate the exact time of the full moon, and claims his share of the Huttari bounty. The cattle are washed and scrubbed for once; the menial servants have an extra