Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kuruba Gowda Event 4 - Badige(ಬಡಿಗೆ) Habba

As I search more, I find more and more interesting stories, customs and festivals of Kuruba Gowdas. This festival or Habba is called as "Badige Habba" (ಬಡಿಗೆ ಹಬ್ಬ) or "Eeragudi Habba" (ಈರಗುಡಿ ಹಬ್ಬ). This festival is celebrated every three years in the village of "Kavadamatti" in Muddebihal talk of Bijapur district

This festival is celebrated in the memory of "Jumanna Devaru". This festival involves hitting each other with Badige(sticks). The festival starts at the Jumanna temple and 501 Kuruba Gowdas with 501 Badige's split into groups and start hitting each other and also the person who claims to have had the experience of god entering him. They do this for about one and half kilometres all through the village. Tihis procession ends at the sweet water well of one "Somana Gowda Biradar", where the Badige's are cleaned and taken back to their home to perform Pooja. The procession involves carrying the deities of "Beeralingeshwara" and "Muthya". 

Inspite of having received heavy blows on each other with their Badige's the devotees do not complain of pain, they are smeared with viboothi which they say prevents the pain. Thousands of people from all over the Bijapur district come to this village to watch this strange festival. The Kuruba Gowda Pujari, who is also the head of the community gives the indication for the start of the ceremony.

The story behind the festival is that, about 100 years ago this tiny village had a Kuruba Gowda called "Jumanna". This part was under the British rule and Jumanna could not pay the taxes and so he was not allowed to till his land. Jumanna ignored this warning from the British and started to till his land during night time. The British having heard about this attacked Jumanna at night and after single handedly fighting the British for several hours Jumanna was finally decapitated. Unknown as to what happened during the night Jumanna's sister brought him food in the morning only to find the decapitated body of Jumanna. Legend has it that the severed head of Jumanna spoke to his sister and asked his body to be buried and to celebrate his death by a festival of Valour. Since then this festival has been celebrated in the memory of this brave man and a temple has been built for him.

Very interesting our own festival of sacrifice and valour in the lines of Shia Muslims who celebrate Bakrid. 

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