Folklore of the Santal Parganas

160,314 words

The Santals are a Munda tribe, a branch of that aboriginal element which probably entered India from the North East. At the present day they inhabit the Eastern outskirts of the Chutia Nagpore plateau. This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it unde...

Adwa. Rice husked without having been boiled.

Arta. Red pigment applied to the feet for ornament.

Baha Porob. The flower festival; the spring festival held about February.

Bandi. A receptacle for storing grain, made of straw rope.

Bharia. A bamboo carried on the shoulder with a load slung at each end.

Bhut. A ghost, a harmful spirit, not originally a Santal word.

Bonga. The name for all gods, godlings and supernatural beings. Sing bonga is the sun god; the spirits of ancestors are bongas, there are bongas of the hills, streams and the forest; others are like fairies and take human form. Sacrifices are offered to bongas on all occasions.

Brinjal. The egg plant.

But. Grain, a kind of pulse.

Chamar. A low caste, workers in leather.

Chando. The sun, the supreme god of the Santals.

Champa. A country in which according to their traditions, the Santals once lived.

Charak Puja. The festival at which men are swung by hooks from a pole.

Chatar. A festival at which dancing takes place round an umbrella. [446]

Chowkidar. A watchman.

Churin. The spirit of a woman who has died while pregnant, her feet are turned backwards. Not originally Santal.

Chumaura. A ceremony observed at marriage, and Sohrae festival.

Dain. A witch. Witches are supposed to use their powers to cause sickness and death; women accused of witchcraft are often murdered.

Dehri. The president of the annual hunt; he presides over the Court which during the hunt hears appeals against unjust decisions of paganas.

Dewan. The chief minister of a Raja.

Dhobi. A washerman.

Dhoti. The waistcloth worn by men.

Dom. A low caste, scavengers, basketmakers and drummers.

Gamcha. A small piece of cloth worn round the neck, or when bathing.

Ghât. The approach to a pool or river at which people bathe; the crossing place of a river.

Ghormuha. A horse-headed monster; not a Santal name.

Goâla. A man of the cow keeping caste.

Godet. The village constable, the official messenger of the headman.

Goondli. A small millet.

Gosain. A religious ascetic, usually of the Vishnuite persuasion.

Gupinî. A celestial milkmaid, such as those who danced with Krishna; not a Santal creation.

Gûr. Juice of sugar cane, molasses. [447]

Hadi. A low caste of scavengers.

Jan or Jan guru. A witch finder. When a man is ill the Jan is consulted as to what witch is responsible. The Jan usually divines by gazing at an oiled leaf.

Jahirthan. The group of sacred trees left in each village for the accommodation of the spirits of the forest when the jungle is cleared.

Jai tuk. A bullock given to a woman at her marriage.

Jhalka. A boastful man.

Jogi or Jugi. A religious ascetic, a mendicant.

Lota. A small brass water pot.

Lakh. One hundred thousand.

Mahadeo. The great god, i.e. Siva.

Mahajan. A moneylender.

Mahuli. A tribe akin to the Santals, basket makers by profession.

Malhan. A cultivated leguminous plant.

Manjhithan. The little pavilion in the centre of every Santal village at which the spirits of dead headmen are worshipped and where village councils are held.

Mantra. An incantation, sacred or magic formula.

Marang Burn. The great spirit, the original chief god of the Santals.

Marwari. A trader from Rajputana and the adjoining parts.

Maund. A weight, 40 seers or 82 pounds.

Meral. A small tree. Phyllanthus emblica.

More Turuiko. Lit.: The five or six—certain Santal godlings.

Mowah. A tree, Bassia latifolia, the fleshy flower is eaten and spirit is distilled from it. [448]

Musahar. A semi-aboriginal caste which catches and eats rats.

Nala. A water course with steep banks.

Narta. The namegiving ceremony observed three or five days after birth, by which the child is formally admitted into the tribe.

Ninda Chando. The moon goddess, wife of Singchando the Sun god.

Kat. A dry measure used for grain.

Kisar Bonga. A spirit which takes up its abode in the house, frolicsome and mischievous.

Kisku. One of the twelve exogamous septs of Santals, by tradition it was formerly the royal sept.

Koerī. A cultivating caste of Hindus.

Kora. A youth or young man, the hero of a story is often called so throughout, and I have for convenience adopted it as a proper name.

Kos. A measure of distance, two miles.

Ojha. An exorcist, a charm doctor, one who counteracts the effects of witchcraft.

Pachet. A place in the Manbhum district which the Santals occupied in the course of their immigrations.

Panchayat. A council primarily of five which meets to decide a dispute.

Pagri. A cloth worn round the head, a turban.

Paharia. A hill man; the Saurias or Malé of the Rajmahal hills.

Pai. A wooden or metal measure containing half a seer.

Pan. Betel used for chewing.

Parganna. A Santal chief having jurisdiction over a number of villages. [449]

Paranic. The assistant headman of a village.

Parrab. A festival.

Peepul or pipal. A tree, ficus religiosa.

Pilchu Haram and Pilchu Budhi. The first man and woman.

Rahar. A cultivated crop, a kind of pulse.

Raibar. A marriage go-between, a man employed to arrange a marriage.

Rakas. An ogre. Sanskrit Rakhshya.

Rum. To be possessed, to fall into a cataleptic state.

Sabai. A kind of grass used for making rope.

Sal. A forest tree. Shorea robusta.

Seer. A weight, about two pounds.

Sid atang. To take the final step, to be completely initiated.

Sing bonga. The Sun god.

Sipahi. An armed guard, a soldier, armed messenger.

Sohrai. The great winter festival of the Santals.

Taluq. A revenue division of the country.

Tarop tree. A small tree, Buchanania latifolia.

Thakur. The supreme Being.

Tika. A mark on the forehead, the giving of which corresponds to coronation.

Tola. A hamlet, a detached quarter of a village.

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