The Torch & Head-dress (Part 9 of 11)

(Click on pictures to enlarge)

Disclaimer: This post includes descriptions of Possession, wherein the Spirit occupies the man acting as the medium (The Oracle) temporarily. It is left to an individual to believe this or to differ with the idea. For me personally, it's more a form of local art than anything else. This is why I put up such articles and photographs on my blog. These indigenous traditions, unless preserved, could slowly disappear, till we'd end up only reading about such customs and practices. I claim no authority on the subject; whatever I've put up here is what I've been told by my folks, or what I've read on the topic!

As this round of invoking and dance leads to a draw, it is now time for one of the artists to tie the huge head-dress (Ani) that I described earlier, and dance with a torch of flames made of dry coconut leaves. As the artists rest for a while, the poojari now comes for his final act. It is now approaching two o' clock in the morning, but it is quite surprising to see almost everyone wide awake; this is quite different from similar Kolas I've attended earlier, where more than half the people gathered would doze off one by one!

As described earlier, he holds the sword-like article, and is possessed. The expressions are again, quite striking- he rolls his eyeballs upwards, giving a very eerie appearance. He blesses everyone, especially all the male members who are married into the family [so-called outsiders! :)].
Meanwhile, the assistants help the artist to tie the head-dress, that has been painstakingly made through the evening (Read Part 4 for more). 

Once he is ready, all the three artists gather at the mantap. One of the assistants hands over a burning torch, emitting lots of smoke. 
Everyone coughs. And they dance, again.

Read also, the earlier posts in this series: 
Of Daivas and Spirits


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