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of ceremonies and has the command in all the wedding-preparations.
On the wedding-day, at sun rise, the two village communities, to which the bride and bridegroom belong, are in festive commotion. No house is permitted to absent itself from the general gathering. In the bridegroom's house the male guests, in the bride's house the female attendants, busy themselves with bathing, dressing and ornamenting the chief personage of the day, and in making every thing ready for a good Coorg-feast. The larger and fatter the pigs, the more abundant and strong the liquor, the greater will be the glory of the day. Ancient ballads are recited, extempore-singers extol the names of the principal persons among the assembled relatives.. .. Now the Muhiirta (the propitious hour) has come. At the same time both bride and bridegroom are conducted to the wedding-seat in their respective houses. The guests put themselves in order. One after the other approaches the bridegroom, or the bride; strews some grains of rice upon his, or her, head; lifts a brass-vessel filled with milk from the ground, and pours some drops into his, or her, mouth; puts a piece of money, not less than three annas into his, or her, hand, and passes on. When the Muhurta is over, the bridegroom, or the bride, retires into another room, where they continue to sit, sometimes for hours, until the last of the guests has come, and offered his salutation and gifts. At the end of the Muhurta the wedding company apply themselves to the dinner prepared for them. The joy of the feast is heightened by the songs of the Coorg-bards, who sing of the glories of the relatives of the house, of the families belonging to the village community, and repeat the Palmers which they have learned from their fathers. (Palm^ means originally an old history, but is now used only for ancient songs.) COORG WEDDING. 39
In the afternoon, the bridegroom is conducted by his party in procession to the house of the bride. (Sometimes, of course, the marriage procession has to spend a day or more on the way from the bridegroom's house to that of the bride.) There a new feast is provided for the strangers, abundance of rice, pork and spirits. Dinner over, the parties of the bride and bridegroom, each consisting of the representatives of their respective villages, stand in two rows opposite each other. A lamp is lit between them. The bride's party, the Aruva being spokesman, ask the bridegroom's party: "do you give to our daughter, house and yard, field and jungle, gold and silver?" This question is thrice put. When it is answered in the affirmative, the bridegroom's Aruva delivers three little pebbles into the hand of the bride, who binds them into the hem of her garment, in token of her right to the property of her future husband's home. The bride is then conducted into the kitchen and seated upon a stool. A light is kindled. The bridegroom is now brought in. He strews some grains of rice upon her head, gives her a little milk to drink, and makes her a present of some coin, half a rupee or a rupee. He is succeeded by his parents and relatives, who salute the bride in the same manner. After this welcome given by the whole family to the new member, the bridegroom seizes the hand of his bride, bids her rise, and leads her into the outer room of the house. Thus the daughter takes leave of the house of her birth and renounces all her claims upon the family and property of her parents. Upon this the wedding party returns to the bridegroom's house. Again the guests are feasted. Then the Aruva of the husband conducts bride and bridegroom into their own room, and dismisses the party.
After five, or seven, or nine, or eleven days the bride's relatives arrive at the house of the newly married coupie, and carry the bride with them. On her return to her former home, she is treated as unclean, her dress and ornaments are taken from her; she is not permitted to touch anything in the house, and is shut up like a woman after childbirth. In this seclusion the young woman is kept for a fortnight, or a month, or even two months, according to the wealth and respectability of the family. From that-time she becomes free. She goes back to her new home,, and may now return on a visit to her mother's house, whenever she likes, without fear of molestation.
In Kigga«narfu the Coorg, have conformed in some measure to Barfaga-(Canarese) customs. There the new couple first meet in the bride's house and are welcomed, both of them together, by the relatives and other guests. Then the same ceremony is gone through in the bridegroom's house, whither the party repair in company. But the true Coorg-rites are properly observed in the Mfendalenarfu, the Northern part, the Highland-country, which is the literal translation of the above name, in fact in Coorg proper. For Kiggattnkda is in many more respects, than geographical position only, below M^radalenarfu. I need not add, that my informant is a Mendalenae?u-man.
Childbirth renders not only the mother of the newborn babe, but the whole house unclean, and every one who may come in contact with them. This ceremonial uncleanness, Sutaka, lasts for seven days, be the babe male or female. Daughters are not valued. They must be brought up, and yet are destined, to be entirely alienated from the house by their marriage. Boys are the stay of families. As soon as a Coorgboy is born, a little bow of a Castor-oil-plant-stick (Ricinus communis) with an arrow, made of a leafstalk of the same plant, is put into his little hands. He is thus, at taking his first breath, introduced into the
BIRTH AND DEATH CEREMONIES. 41
world as a future huntsman and warrior. This ceremony, however, has almost lost its meaning, and ceases to be generally observed. Game has grown scarce in Coorg, and as for the warlike qualities of the people, they have always been extolled more by themselves, than by foes or friends. Though not wanting in individual bravery and, therefore, formidable in their own jungles, they have never been good soldiers, and rarely gained a battle in the open country. On the twelfth day after their birth, children, whether boys or girls, are laid in the cradle by the mother or grandmother, who on this occasion give them their names. . A case of death defiles the house for seven days. The bodies of the young, who die under sixteen years of age, and of women, are buried; those of other persons, especially of old people, are burnt.
On the death of a member of a Coorg family, messengers are despatched to every house of the villagecommunity. As on a wedding, each house must Bend at least one male and one female member to do service on the occasion. The Aruva of the family has again the direction of the ceremonies. Under his superintendence the corpse is washed and dressed, by the men, who have followed the funeral summons, if the dead is a man, if a woman, by the women. It is remarkable, that the Coorgs see no defilement in the handling of a corpse by the funeral party. It is enough for them, to bathe and to change clothes on their return home. The preparations ended, the body is carried into the middle apartment (Narfumane) of the house and laid upon a funeral bed. A lamp is kindled and put near the bed. Instead of oil, those who can afford it, burn on this occasion claiified cow's butter in half a cocoanut placed on a handful of rice in a copperdish. The whole company gathers round him and breaks out into loud wailing, beating the breast, tearing the hair, much in the usual Hindu-style. Guns are also fired in honor of the dead. Towards evening the corpse is brought into the yard, a little water is poured into its mouth by the relatives, and a piece of money deposited in a copper dish, containing a little cocoaniilk, saffron, rice and well-water. Now the body is carried to the burial-or burning-ground. Each funeral-guest approaches, dips his finger into the copper-dish, moistens the lips of the corpse with a drop or two, and lays a piece of money into the plate. This collection goes to defray the expenses of the funeral. After all present have thus taken their last leave of the departed, the body is deprived of the ornaments, and laid in the grave or upon the pile, the contents of the funerallamp-dish are thrown upon it, and now the covering of the grave, or the burning of the pile, concludes the ceremony. Before this last scene, however, some relatives must be set apart for funeral observances until the Dhiti, the great ceremonial day, which is sometimes celebrated on the 28th day after the death of a person, i. e. at the end of the lunar month in which the decease has occurred, sometimes later, as late as six months, when peculiar honor is intended to be done to the departed. In the interval the relatives, who offer themselves for this service, have to perform a lesser course of fasting. They forego the early and the second meal, at six and nine o'clock. At noon they bathe (the Coorgs are not accostomed to the daily ablutions of the tribes under Brahmanical tuition), prepare their own food, eat part of it themselves (it consists of rice and a little pickled vegetables), and give the rest to the crows, which consume it for the dead. When the Dhiti, the great day of the conclusion of funeral-rites, arrives, the whole village community is again invited to a feast in honor of the departed and for the quiet of his soul, and thus the last end of ft Coorg's earthly course has come.