I was travelling to Ranchi from Kolkata. I saw traditional Bengali masks were being displayed at the departure terminal of the Kolkata airport. It’s a nice way to promote the ancient craft of mask-making in Bengal. Throughout the world, masks are used for their expressive power as a feature of masked performance — both ritually and in various theatre traditions.
Malana is an ancient Indian village in the state of Himachal Pradesh. Much before going to Malana village, I had read quite a lot about it. This solitary village in the Malana Nala, a side valley of the Parvati Valley to the north-east of Kullu Valley, is isolated from the rest of the world. The peaks of Chanderkhani and Deo Tibba shadow the village. It is situated on a remote plateau by the side of the torrential Malana river, at a height of around 10,000 feet above sea level. Malana has its own lifestyle and social structure and people are strict in following their customs.
Although far apart, Mutanabbi Street and College Street have striking similarities — some crowd bookstalls on the street; others watch poets reciting to their friends as they sip tea in a coffeehouse.
The flavor of family bonding is expressed through social customs. We Indians have so many customs which makes the expression of family bonding even more prominent. Such is a custom of Bengalis in which they celebrate the son-in-law day.
The Kolarian tribes are believed to be one of the earliest settlers in the Indian subcontinent. Kolarians are Austroasiatic speakers. Genetic studies of Austroasiatic speakers suggest that the Austroasiatic language family may have arisen in India and spread east. Santhals, Mundas are two major Kolarian tribes. A myth may be defined as a story that serves to connect individuals to their cultures and to explain natural and supernatural phenomena, including the creation of the world and the origin of humans.
Sohrai is a winter harvest festival and one of the most important festivals of santhals in Jharkhand and West Bengal. It is mainly celebrated at the beginning of winter harvest, when the paddy has ripened, on the new moon day of the Bengali month of Kartik, coinciding with Diwali or Kali puja, in the month of October-November.
Ghosts are an important part of the folklore, and form an integral part of the socio-cultural beliefs of the people living in the geographical and ethno-linguistic region of Bengal. Popularly known as the Indian Halloween, Bhoot Chaturdashi is observed on the night before Kali Puja. Observed primarily in the eastern parts of India, it is said that on this night the dead walk among the living. The evil spiritual powers are seemingly heightened on this night. In order to keep the evil spirits at bay, people ritualistically observe Bhoot Chaturdashi every year.
Bijoya Dashami is the last day of Bengali festivities on account of Durga puja. It follows by meeting, greeting and hugging of friends. Bengali events are never complete without feasts.
The Vedas comprise a vast corpus of Sanskrit poetry, philosophical dialogue, myth, and ritual incantations developed and composed by Aryans over 3,500 years ago. Regarded by Hindus as the primary source of knowledge and the sacred foundation of their dharma, the Vedas embody one of the worlds oldest surviving cultural traditions.
Annakoot — Mountain of food — is celebrated in observance of the episode in Sri Krishna’s childhood, in which He gave protection to the cowherd clan of Vrindavan from the wrath of Indra and humbled Indra in that process. The cowherd, their wives, children and cattle jubilantly surrounded Sri Krishna. They were awed by His superhuman accomplishment and celebrated Sri Krishna’s feat with a sumptuous feast. Thus began the tradition of Annakoot.