Orissa: Mayurbhanja celebrates 'Mokor'

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Baripada, Jan 14: Tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj district today celebrated 'Mokor' harvest festival with traditional fervour and gaiety.

The festival is generally observed on the last day of 'Pous' (mid-January) and coincides with the Hindu festival 'Sankranti'.

'Chuda' (flattened rice) and 'molasses' were offered to ancestors on the occasion. In the Santhali terminology, the festival is known as 'Sakrat'.

The day preceeding 'Mokor' was observed as 'Baundi'. The festival is marked by the belief that if the tribals catch fish and crab and if they can eat them on the day, they will be given a long lease of life, said Sukhlal Hansda, a Santhal headman of Baunsabilla here.

Mouthwatering cakes of meat and sun-dried rice flour are prepared in all households, and after bath, the Santhals eat them with treacle and sesamum.

''Chuda and jaggery are also compulsory items,'' he added.

Towards evening, the people indulge in archery competition on a target placed on a banana tree. The successful archer is cheered by the tribe and conveyed to the headman's residence with a great demonstration, where the tribe is entertained with rive-beer and fried rice.

The conclusion of the festival marks a great deal of mirth in all the houses. Puppet monkeys made of straw are made to dance from house to house. People raise subscription for a tribal dinner and the entire countryside rings with merry music and laughter of a good time.


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