Saturday, April 21, 2007

Wearing ghost costumes during worship

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In India there is a tribal clan "Mahto" in Jharkhand state's Tamad village which has a unique traditional festival known as "Koka", in which the participants wear ghost costumes and dance to look like as the ardent devotees of Lord Shiva.

During the festival dummy ghosts or "Kokas" attracts attention of a lot of tribals interested in Tantrik rituals. Locals dressed as dummy ghosts lead the procession and the "Kokas" are regarded as a part of Lord Shiva's marriage entourage.

"It has been practiced for generations. I believe it's been now nearly 1000 years or even more. I have been observing this festival since 1963 as a nine-year old. All said and done, it is a major festival," said Rattan Lal Rai, a "Koka".

Many persons disguise their appearance since the belief is that if one makes a vow to the Lord for some favor, the person has to put on such looks for a particular number of times. They believe that the God listens to their vows and fulfills them!

People from far and near gather for a memorable glimpse of "Kokas". None of the participants is afraid of having any nightmare since a "Kokas", the dummy ghost is a devout Bhakta / Devotee of Lord Shiva.


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