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Santhal Tribe

Santhal community is from Munda ethnic group who are from India and Bangladesh.  Santhal people are one of the biggest tribes amongst the rest. You can find people of this tribe in Assam, Tripura, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, and West Bengal. In Nepal and Bhutan also you can find them. The major language spoken by them is Santhali. They mostly eat rice and both genders wear ornaments in their community. Their custom and style are unique. They celebrate festivals like Sohrai and Baha. They also have a traditional dance called “Don” and “JIkha”.  Sohrai festival is the main festival. It is also reknown as a cattel festival and is celebrated after harvesting which coincides with Diwali.  Besides that, they also celebrate Karam, Dansai, Sakrat, Mahmore, Rundo, and Magsim festivals. Chadar Badar which is a form of puppetry especially done by the santhal tribe in different places is very popular. If there is any issue in their community then the decision-making task is done by Manjhi. Manjhi is the one who is chosen by council members to solve the internal affairs. Santhal houses are craved with different designs of animals, flowers, and many more. So they are also popular for craving style.

In the Santhal community marriage within the family is prohibited. They can marry people who are era (guest) of the same community. Santhal people believe in Bonga. They worship them and Bonga is also called the intermediary between the real world and the invisible world. In the santhali community if a boy and girl are willing to marry each other then the grooms side with go to the bride’s house and are there for while. Then the head of the girl’s village will arrive at the boys’ village headman and then the couple will be summoned and questioned. First, the girl will be asked whether she wants to date the guy or not if she wants to then there will be no issues in their marriage, and if she says no then the boy’s family has to pay a fine. And then the headmen of girls village will inform girls father about the decision made. After they agree then both the headmen and men of the family meet at a village and talk about the bride price. The bride’s father asks for an amount and if the girl’s family is okay they continue with the marriage else if it stopped them. After the marriage is finalized they all drink rice beer and celebrations start. Santhal people love music, dance, and wine and without these they never celebrate. They have their outfits, dance, music, and culture.

-Article written by: Sakshi Agrawal for Land Nepal

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