On important occasions, when man feels that his efforts and work are enough to bring forth result, he begins to depend on good and bad omens and oracles and totems
By Ashwani Kumar
| September 24th 2009 07:18 PM | Print
On important occasions, when man feels that his efforts and work are enough to bring forth result, he begins to depend on good and bad omens and oracles and totems Anonymous (1959). To get leaves of peepal ( Ficus religiosa Linn.), to burn camphor in a sandalwood (Santalum album Linn.) lamp, to wear a garland of Basil (Ocimum sanctum Linn.), or to keep plants of basil and sandal wood in the house are symbols of wealth and religious faith. It is believed that if basils fruits are put on the head of a person at the time of death, he goes to heaven. It is considered bad to pluck flowers in afternoon. In Uttar Pradesh even folk songs for children prohibits the cutting of peepal (Ficus religiosa Linn.), banyan (Ficus bengalensis Linn.) and sandal (Santalum album Linn.) trees . In Kumoan , cutting of timber after sunset is believed to attract illness of children (Anonymous, 1959) .
Childless women do a number of totems for having a son . In Bhojpur, the offering of sesame (Sesamum indica Linn.), rice (Oryza sativa Linn.) etc to the sun near a river bank is a totem (Upadhyaya, 1960). Tribal women offer many totems on bamboo (Bambusa vulgaris Schard. ex. J.C.Wendl) or babul (Acacia arabica Linn.) for successful completion of son’s marriage. The people of Oudh believe that if flowers of Ketaki (Pandanus fascicularis Linn.) and Palas (Butea monosperma O.Kuntze.) are touched to the body of a snake bitten person accompanied with some Mantras, he is cured .
The use of flowers in decorating hair is a speciality of Bihar, Gujrat and several other states. According to Gujrati folk songs Rama fell in love with Sita mainly due to the beautiful floral decoration of her hair.
Sandal (Santalum album Linn.), turmeric (Curcuma domestica Valeton.) and other plants are used in the formation of a paste for improving the complexion of a bride . Brides use sandal (Santalum album Linn.), rose (Rosa damascena Mill.) to perfume their body. References to the use of palas(Butea monosperma O.Kuntze.) for dying clothes are common in folk songs, particularly of Kumaon. In Bengali songs, references are made for decorating the walls of houses with straws of rice (Oryza sativa Linn.) and several flowers (Agarwal, 1997) .