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Top Seven Popular Orthodox Traditions of India

Updated on June 18, 2018
Deepika ojha profile image

Deepika loves to read , write and explore about art and craft work of different areas.

India is the heritage of so many cultures, traditions, religions, and hundreds of customs. Every religion has some unique style of practicing rituals.That's why the country is also called ‘Land of cultures'.

These traditions are followed by the entire community and somewhere the whole village perform these rituals. These customs are connected with so many bizarre stories. We believe or not but these enthralling and anomalous religious practices are performed in India for hundreds of years.

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Every tradition has their unique color and compelling style. India is full of mystifying culture and stories. People here are performing the enraptured but weird rituals with great Faith. Faith gives you the power to fight with weakness but these faiths do not have any rational reason to believe.

Following are the list of popular traditions that are as follows :

1. A celebration with hooking & piercing body – 'Thaipoosam' from Tamil Nadu

Faith in India Is unquestionable and also unanswered.Strong faith sometimes will become true also. So many rituals are performed in this faith but some are so appalling which can’t be imagined but practiced and can’t be questioned.

'Thaipoosam' festival is celebrated in Tamil Nadu in the month of 'Thai' (Jan/Feb).'Thai' means month and 'Poosam' is a star. This Festival is celebrated to honor the 'Lord Murugan' (Kartikeya, son of Hindu Lord Shia and Parvati). This is very painful festival devotees in this festival keep 48 days fast and pierce their bodies with spears, hooks and many lances called vel.

It is believed that the goddess 'Parvati' gave 'Lord Murugan' a vel or ‘spear’ to kill the demon king 'Soorapdman'. On this occasion the ‘Kavadi Attam’ a burden dance is performed by devotees.This dance is performed as ceremonial sacrifices offered by devotees and as a style of their worship of this festival.

Some even pull tractors or heavy carts by their hooks or spear which is pierced in their body. Devotees constantly drumming and reciting on roads and this whole enrapturing scene are very frightful but fascinating.

Celebrating 'Thaipoosam' Festival

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2. ‘Direct Fight with the bull' the famous "Jallikattu Festival"

This is a very popular ritual or we can say sport in India. "Jallikattu" is very famous bull taming practice celebrated in India.The term "Jallikattu" is derived from Tamil word "Jalli" that means ‘Gold or silver money' and "Kattu" means ‘tied'.This sport is very popular in Tamil Nadu.This is reminiscent of Spanish bullfighting.

"Jallikattu” is celebrated on 'Mattu Pongal Day' as a part of the 'Pongal' (a festival) celebration. It is a popular traditional sport in which an enraged bull is released into the crowd and multiple participants try to control the bull by grabbing the large hump of the bull's back with their arms.

The bull which is tamed before the sport special care is given to that bull and bull is not killed also after this sport.But this is very dangerous sport many people were injured in this sport till now.Supreme Court even bans this practice in 2014. Many government organizations like 'PETA' are against this festival practice.There are so many mass revolutions are going on to release the band for this festival and giving back their authentic and famous captivating sport the 'Jallikattu'.

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This sport is played in India for past 2500 years. Even a seal from Indus Valley Civilization is found depicting the practice of "Bull taming".

3. Walking on a ‘Bed of Fire' - "Theemithi" in Tamil Nadu

"Theemithi" is the international hindu festival. In this festival, the devotees walk on the bed of fire and pray to god for completing his or her desire. Both men and women perform this ritual. On the ground firstly, coal is spread like bed in a rectangular area and burning of coal is called the "bed of fire" and for the devotee this bed of fire seems as "bed of flowers" and the fire seems as orange flowers when the devotee walks on this he/she emerge as pure blood.The entire curse, jinx are removed from the life of devotee and devotee emerges as a fresh flower and his / her soul become holy and termed as ‘Pavitra Aatma' or 'holy spirit'.

This festival is celebrated in the month of October or November and originated in India and spread across Sri Lanka, Singapore, and South Africa as well.

This is a long ceremony of over two and half months in which story of epic 'Mahabharata' is recited includes 18 discrete rites. female deity "Amman" is worshiped. This whole ceremony is also called as 'Poo Methippu' or flower walking. This is festival of goddess 'Draupadi' –women of substance and epitome. It is believed that "Draupadi" is the wife of 'Pandava's' who after the battle of 'Kurukshetra' walked across this bed of fire and get pure and sacred and came out as a fresh flower.

4. Good Luck Charm In tossing Newborns

Rituals are performed in the faith that by performing these, desires get completed. But styles of performing different rituals are different and some are so dangerous that it can give you goosebumps. Newborns we all know are so delicate that even when we carry them we are so alert. But in India, there is a ritual in which a child is tossed from a height of 50 feet to ground and it is recognized that this will bring good luck and good destiny in the life of the tossed infant and their family.

This tradition is held in both muslim and hindu religion. In muslim religion at 'Baba Umer Dargah Sholapur', Maharashtra newborn is tossed from the height of 50 feet to the ground. In the ground, a rectangular sheet is kept by people of dargah to catch the tossed child. This scene looks so awful but practiced here for over hundred years.

The same rituals are performed in hindu at 'Shri Santeswar Temple' near Karnataka. Hear the child is tossed from the height of 30 feet and people on the ground, in the same way, catch the child.

Both the rituals are performed from years but the strange thing is that no case of child injury is registered yet. The women and child development authority are fighting against this but this is also a true fact this custom is going on over hundred years but no case of harm to any child came yet.

5. ‘The Game of Fire' – "Agni Khela"

"Agni Khel" the game of fire is the fire-fighting sport played in the city of Mangalore, Andhra Pradesh, India. It is celebrated on the "Kateel Durga Parameswari Temple" of Mangalore. Every year, this festival commences on the night before "Mesha Sankramana Day" and goes over eight days in the month of April. There is a huge crowd in the temple gathered for worship on this occasion. In this, the hindu goddess 'Durga' is appeased by the devotees. Many theme performances held and the whole temple is decorated very intriguingly.

The most enthralling and ablaze custom or we can say a ritual cum sport is played in this temple is the 'Agni- Keli'. In this, there are two teams and the participants of both teams are at a distance of 10 – 15 m. Each Participant is carrying burning palm frond torches and they have to throw these palm fronds on each other. Each participant can throw up to five palm frond. If anyone is injured or burnt in this sport then they are sprayed with a holy water called "Kumkumarchana".

This sport attracts huge traffic of tourists in this place in the month of April. The medical team is also deployed in these places. The police arrangements are also there this is one of the amazing, daring and thrilling sports played in India.

6. ‘A Bloodshed of Victory Parade ‘– "Banni Festival"

The 'Banni' festival is celebrated at the Devaragattu temple in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh.This temple witness frenzy every 'Dusshera' night. (Dusshera – a hindu festival celebrated as the victory of truth and justice over injustice. It is said that on this day the hindu 'Lord Rama' Killed the Demon King 'Ravana' and escape her wife Sita from Ravana imprisonment). Hundreds of devotee in the midnight of 'Dasara' (Dusshera) gather together and hit each other on the heads. On this extreme bloodshed, devotees celebrate their famous ‘Victory Parade’ to commemorate the death of demon by 'Mala –Malleshwa' (Lord Shiva) till morning.

In the midnight idol, 'Malama' (Parvati) and 'Mala- Malleshwa' (Shiva) are brought down at hill temple Narneli.

Devaragattu temple is situated on Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka border so devotees from both the states come to celebrate this festival. Temple priests and locals say that this festival is celebrated from hundred years and earlier spears and axes are used to hit each other.

Hundreds of policeman and medical teams are deployed to save people. If any dangerous injury held by that the state government authorities are all alert to these cases. But no one is there to say something about why this bloody tradition going on for so many years. All people and authorities only become spectators of this bizarre tradition of hitting each other in an extreme way.

7. ‘A fight with Inner Pain’ : Self-flagellation on Muharram

One of the most dreadful and terrifying practices is a very perplexing and bizarre ritual called 'Ashura'. 'Muharram' is the holy month of muslims who keep fast for around a month. On the tenth day of 'Muharram Ashura' is practiced on the mourning of 'Muhammad' every year in which the 'Shia Muslims' marks the climax of remembrance of 'Muharram' (a festival of muslim community) and commemorate the death of 'Hussein' the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala.

This occasion is followed by mass self-flogging or Self-flagellation practice which is performed by 'Shia-Muslims' on this day. The men mercilessly whip or beat their own bodies with chains attached to blades.They incessantly whip themselves until they are not fully drenched with their own blood.

This is terrifying and horrible bloodshed devotion to the god. The devotees say that they do not feel any pain while doing this practice and sopping in their own blood and this is a fight with their own inner pain. The sight is fascinating and dreadful.

What is your opinion about these types of old orthodox customs?

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© 2017 Deepika ojha

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    • Robert Sacchi profile image

      Robert Sacchi 

      10 months ago

      This article gives good information about some ancient rituals that are practiced in some places in India.

    • AshutoshJoshi06 profile image

      Ashutosh Joshi 

      12 months ago from New Delhi, India

      Honestly speaking, this thing called 'its part of our culture' is worst form of 'ignorance'. As far as these practices go, they are livelihood more than customaries!!

    • Deepika ojha profile imageAUTHOR

      Deepika ojha 

      12 months ago from Rajasthan , India

      This is a list of five very popular customs followed in India which is even dangerous for life but people still enjoy practicing these traditions for their better life.

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