The Dasai Parab, celebrated in October, goes back to a period in history when the Santals had to defend themselves and hide their identity behind masks.
During the festival not much of this martial spirit is left. The men dance with peacock feathers adorning their turbans. Some even dress up as women or wear sack cloth.
The masks are made of earthen pots or hollowed-out pumpkins. This displays some of the humour in Santal celebrations. Later, the women offer handfuls of grain to the dancers as a mark of appreciation and join in the dance.
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 >
All contents are being published with an understanding that the respective copyright owners have agreed to the license terms explained in the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License. This means that no commercial use or modification of such content is permissible without written consent by their respective copyright holders.
- Ashadullapur Gramin Silpa & Sastha Bidhan Kendra
- Crafts and visual arts | Masks
- eBook | Background guide for education
- 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
- Santal Parganas
- Santali language | eBook | A Santali-English dictionary – Archive.org
- Sanyasi Lohar
- Seasons and festivals
- 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:
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- explore India’s tribal cultural heritage with the help of another interactive map >>