CULTURAL TRADITIONS OF HO’S (HO DASTUR KO)
The most prominent among the spirits is Singbonga, who according to their myths, comes among them occasionally in the form of an old man. It is believed that if in a dream one sees an old man with completely white hair that is Singbonga and if he gives any message that is considered as coming from Singbonga. Occasionally the head of the house hold offers a sacrifice to Singbonga. An offering made to Singbonga is always an animal/bird of white colour, and animals of white colour are offered only to Singbonga. Some cases the head of the household offers a sacrifice to Singbonga are the followings:-
Before he sows paddy seeds for the main crop of the year, the head of the house offers a white cock to Singbonga and asks Sinbonga to call back ‘Baba Enga’( the rice –mother a personification of rice) so good crops will be assured. Also when the harvested paddy has been pilled up on the thrashing floor, Finally, when thrashing is finished and bundled up to be brought home for storing a white cock is offered in thanksgiving to Singbonga for the good crop.
On the occasion of annual cowshed feast, the head of the house offers a white cock to Singbonga uttering “Singbonga raja, it is you who in the very beginning gave us cattle for ploughing. May this offering protect, make grow and mutually your seed, your stock….you gave them into the hands of man”
Although Singbonga is considered to be very beginning, tutelary spirits-appointed by times Singbonga himself does by sending some sickness. Therefore through a dream or through divination performed by a shaman, it is discerned that Singbonga and consider him the guru of their gurus and ultimate source of my knowledge or skill which they may have acquired.
Other spirits who involve themselves in the lives of men are called Bongas. In general Bonga is two type i.e. helpful spirit and malicious spirits.helpful Bongas protecting men from baneful influences e.g.sickness bodily harm ,or harm to his crops,his cattle, or his belongings, or harm from evil spirits. Such spirits can also themselves punish those who don not show proper respect to them or who do not make timely offering to them. Malicious spirit are those who in no way benefit humans but who intervene in their lives only to cause harm and grief.There is an Assure legend among the Hos which is as follows:-
In the myth , he Assure were iron smelters who kept their smity fires burning day and night, thereby causing a drought on earth and thereby displeasing Singbonga. Singbonga all the Assure men to be burdened to death in a furnace;the women complain to him ask him how they will hence forth be sustained. Singbonga tells them that he will scatter them all over the earth that they will be sustained by the humans who will offer them the blood of animals. Then he took the bones of the men and scattered them all over, and after that taking the women by hair he threw them scattering them in all direction. Those who fell into streams became gala, those who fell into deep water become paauni, and those who fell under various tress and rocks become the respective spirits: it must be noted that Bongas here rd to are the spirits of dead men-Myths are told to explain how such spirits revealed themselves and there protecting role,explaining at the same time that they would in return expect to be served and sustained by humans.
In some ways Hos consider these protecting spirit to be more directly involve d in there lives than Singbonga himself, although they realize that such spirits are subordinate to Singboga and have their roles through him. When a Ho offers an animal to a spirit as a deity but but he is providing nourishment for his protector appointed by Singbonga. Although he is dispositions of one who serves the tutelary spirits include elements of fear that if he does not make the necessary offerings he will be punished, there are also positive dispositions of gratitude and respect towards the spirits whom they sincerely believe to help them. The principal yearly celebrations in which the village priest(deuri) presides in the name of the whole village( I the Mage Parob, Baa Parob, Batauli and Jamnama Parob)are all the honour of the tutelary spirits ,and on those occasions, offering are not made to Singbonga at last in many villages.
Foremost among the tutelary spirits are Desauli Bonga Jaera Buli. Desauli is the spirit sacred grove and jaera Buli is considered to be his wife. In General in Ho prayers Desauli has a prominent place, named first among the tutelary spirits and Jaera Buli, if named at all is given a secondary place except at the Mage and especially at the baa feasts. And Jaera Buli also associated with the first parents and sometimes also as an ancestor. Buli are looked upon as a human ancestor is that they both asked to invite their married daughters and their married younger sisters along with their children to the Mage feast. The same request is extended to jaera Buli for the Baa feast. In the mage feast, much of the obscene language used is in the form of couplets using the language of prayer. Since there is in an obvious fertility connotation here this would be anther indication that Jaera Buli is considered as an original mother, perhaps as the proto-generative force of the community.
Perhaps it was Mage feast which projected Desauli into his present prominent rule. Whereas the baa feast emphasizes new life in nature and also focuses on Jaera Buli as a source of human life, respectfully commemorating her and the other ancestors, the Mage feast emphasizes fertility stressing both the male and the female elements. Another aspect of the feast which emphasizes the separate male and female role is the fact that the wife of the deuri accompanies him in the most of the rites of this feast. Desaulli Bonga is considered to have a very important role in protecting not only individuals and families but in a special way also whole village community.
Marang Bonga the is the protector spirit who is called upon to protect the threshing floor, protect those going into the jungle, protect the cattle etc, all over. There are several myths connected with him or her!some myth treat him as a ‘she’, other myths make her a ‘he’!Pangura Bonga is considered the wife of Marang Bonga. As Marang Bonga is the spirit of the hills, Pangura Bonga is the spirit of the pools under the waterfalls. There are no regular sacrifices offered to these two spirits but the head of the household offers it occasionally as he may sense a need.
A little story is here-Once God tell to cow to say the entire creature to bring palm of rice per head for bhoji .But that cow said to others to bring a PAILA of rice. When bhoji become altogether God saw there had left a lots of rice…..God said to all cows to eat up that rice and as you cheated to humans serve them whole life. They will use to cultivate and will beat you but you will remain silent them and they will serve you annually a day after bring crops to home .That is Goan Bonga which we are worshiping until now……………
Nage era is a spirit who dwells in some low- lying place usually a place where water gathers. They are numerous in number even s pools and springs are numerous, and they are female. It is believed that they will suffer if such places dry uo;therefore at times of drought prayers are made to them. If no placation are made, they can cause diseases like skin eruptions. The sacrificial usually consists of turmeric which has a cooling effect. Buru spirits are the spirits of the nearby hills. They reputedly have specially power in ‘calling’ rain to come, therefore specially prayers are offered to them when rain is needed.
Bagiya spirits are considered to be servants to be servants to the more important buru spirits.They are the spirits of men who have been killed by tigers. These person are burriednear the jungle. Occasional offerings a remade to them so the would take care of the animals in the forest as well as protect the people from the animals.
HAM HO DUM HOKO
The world ‘Ham Ho’ in the Ho language means an old man but when used in the plural Ham Hoko ofen follwed by the parallel Dum hoko. It is used for the dead ancestors of a family who are believed to dwell in the sacred part of the house,the ‘Ading’ . Although the Ho do not use the word Bonga when speaking of there ancestors,they do think of them as spirits.The ancestors are considered to be very much involved in the affairs of the family.Since they have entered the spirit word they are considered to have special intercessory powers both with Singbonga and with the other spirits.
The ancestors are very much concerned with the sacredness,the ritual purity of the family.When a new member is brought into the family either by birth or marriage,a hen is offered to the ancestors.When a member of hose hold dies,the members of the family earnestly plead with the deceased ancestor to accept the spirit of this dead person into their company.When the a family moves to new house s,a prayers and a offering of a chicken are made to the ancestors begging them to transfer their abode to the ‘ading’ of the new house.
On the occasion of any feast the head of the family and on several special occasions lso his wife make offerings of food and rice beer to the ancestors in the ‘Ading’ before eating the family meal.The ancestors are look upon and treated as respected members of the family who have moved in to the invisible word where they are in closer contact with Singbonga and the other spirits.The strong relationship which the Hos and kindred tribal groups have with their dead ancestors in surely something to be admired and to be preserved.
Since the family meal is cooked in the Ading which is the abode of ancestors,it is believed that the ancestors are displeased if disrespect is shown Baba Enga the Rice Mother and hencenthe He will not wear shoes while eating a rice meal also while eating they will take care not to drop rice particles carelessly and not to step on such particles which have accidentally been dropped.
THE MALIGN SPIRITS
Malign spirits are those who intervene in the lives of men only to cause harm and grief the house refer to them as the spirits that be driven out of the afflicted person out of the house where he lives and out of village itself and driving them out is a difficult task and needs very skilled shamans or divines the offering kind of cajole and bribe to ght rid of the epidemics and sicknesses and malign spirits which are the agents of human inclusive of magic and witchcraft .an interesting thing is that people who die an unnatural death e.g.women who die in pregnancy or in childbirth before giving e.g. women who die in pregnancy or in childbirth before giving birth to the child,are supposed to join this company of malign spirits and are intent on causing grief to the still living.
Just as the Hos discern some helpful positive force in the presence of the ancestors and in singbonga’s presence in nature and in the generative force communicated through nature ,they sense the presence of an evil force in calamities such as human sickness, harm to one’s cattle ,to one’cultivation ,especially the crop,and to one’s wealth in general.Since the causes of these calamities are usually shrouded in mystery the Hos and kindred peoples are quick to find the work of a Bonga in these,either a helpful spirit punishing someone for some fault, or an evil spirit maliciously inflicting harm either to satisfy its own evil desires or often working in collaboration with some human being who wishes to inflict harm on an enemy.
It seems that the tribes have soul responsibility of developing the country.Why all the dreams,factories and firing ranges are built only in tribal areas. Is it the only wau of developing country? In my dreams today,on the Dumbary hills asked Brother Birsa;-How can your country survive?You do something for that!Go to your village. Mobalise the people.And save your country. Our soil contain gold Everywhere.Underneath there is gold,outside there is gold. We eat vegetables,fruits,leaves and flowers.We live on it.It is gold for us.
We said johar, but you have taken away our lands made us landless. We said johar, to you and humbly offered you leaf cup offer mented rice brew but you grabbed that hand and rapedus,just to subordinate us women and to satisfy your carnal desires. We said johar,to you but you brought in those colossal machines and established big factories, dams and township and thousands of our people are thus homeless. We said johar to you never imposed our ways of life on you, but we were forced to follow your ways, your lows even though we do not understand them. Yet you continue to ridicule our ways and customs. We said johar to you our song and dance,our language and folklore have become just page in books of libraries where your anthropologists can debate cover.thus you have distorted our history. You have misinterpreted our culture and made it a commodity to marketed to your universities and seminars.
JOHAR- Johar is polite and humble respect to guests, parents, friends and superiors in Ho society. It is the expression and common words for first time when each other meeting. Johar is sacred and holly words that offered to Singbonga as a protector of human being and creature of the universe and the existence. Johar is offering words for priest to Bonga buru whom we are serves in our daily for our better life.