A Santal marriage takes five days and involves various, often complex, rituals. On the day of the Gidi-chumara (Marriage Reception) the women arrive to bless the bride and groom with grass and grains of rice which are kept in a basket. The high wooden turmeric crusher called akhur (on the right) indicates that tumeric powder is used to soak the wedding dress in turmeric water to clean it and purify it ritually. The clothes of bride and groom are being tied together as a sign of their oneness.
The centre of the courtyard where some of the marriage rituals take place is called Mandwa. There, a branch of the Mahua, the blackberry, the mango or the Sal tree is planted. It is believed that benevolent spirits dwell in these trees. Two earthen pots are placed on either side of the branch. These pots are filled with water and carried along by two unmarried girls of the village. They are meant to remind the bride of her friendship with the village people. A man is playing the marriage drum, behind him is a man with an ordinary drum.
Source: Santals Celebrate the Seasons published by Ashadullapur Gramin Silpa & Sastha Bidhan Kendra and Ghosaldanga Bishnubati Adibasi Trust © 2014
Learn more about this unique project, view the entire series of photographs or download the eBook here: Six Murals by Sanyasi Lohar and his team >
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- Ashadullapur Gramin Silpa & Sastha Bidhan Kendra
- eBook | “Santals Celebrate the Seasons”: Creativity fostered by Ashadullapur Gramin Silpa & Sastha Bidhan Kendra – West Bengal
- Ghosaldanga Bishnubati Adibasi Trust
- Museum collections – India
- The Santals by Boro Baski
- Santal music CD and DVD by Ghosaldanga Bishnubati Adibasi Trust
- Santali language | eBook | A Santali-English dictionary – Archive.org
- Sanyasi Lohar
- Seasons and festivals
- Slideshow | Views of Santal villages near Santiniketan: Visiting the Museum of Santal Culture
- Video | Roots and Branches: The Lifeworld of an Enlightened Villager in West Bengal
- Video | Santali video album “Ale Ato” (Our Village, Part 1 of 2) – West Bengal
To locate the Museum of Santal Culture in Bishnubati village (near Santiniketan) on the map seen below, open by clicking on the left button: