Page:The Folk-Lore Journal Volume 7 1889.djvu/392

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^04 COORG t^OLltLOKE.

The ceremony is over and the sheaf- cutter mixes with the company. (151-155)

The Bhagavati feast, one of the two lesser annual festivals, has been introduced by Tulu Brahmans, or if it was originally a Coorg observance has been thoroughly Brahmanized. Two or three villages have one Bhagavati temple in common, and support it jointly. These temples are in charge of Brahmans entirely. On the afternoon of the sixth day a crowd of Holeyas who have finished the Pannanga- lamma-feast (a corresponding Holeya festival) come to the open space before the temple, many of them possessed by devils of their own which belong to the host of Pannanga-lamma, all of them jumping and dancing and beating their drums and gongs. Every one of them — man, woman, and child — carries a long, dry bamboo-stick. These bamboos are piled up in front of the temple like soldiers' muskets, and set fire to at night, when the Holeyas dance round the flames until the pile breaks and falls to the ground. If the pile falls to the east it is considered a lucky omen. While these things take place outside, the temple yard resounds with the voices of Coorgs singing hymns in honour of Bhagavati and the wild notes of many drums. (158-159)

The Keilmurtu festival takes place after harvest. [The first day is devoted to sports.] On the following morning the youths assemble for a hunt in the forest belonging to the village. Whatever game is brought down is divided by the huntsmen in the following manner : the man who has killed the animal receives a hind quarter and the head, the rest belongs to the company. (162)

Every Coorg family offers a sacrifice to its departed ancestors once a year during the two months preceding the monsoon. A fowl, gene- rally a cock, is killed upon a stone devoted to the Karanas somewhere in the jungle land belonging to the family estate. Karana is the name given to the heads of families whether living or dead. Some of the families have temples consecrated to the worship of the dead called Keimada. The Piijaris, officiating priests, employed in these ceremonies are Malayalos, Panika, Maleya, Banna men subordinate to the Kanyas, the hereditary Malayalam astrologers of Coorg. At the