About Bunts

Bunt Customs

Bunts or Nadavas is a Hindu community, originating from the western coast of India. Bunta in Tulu means powerful man or a soldier. Bunts are mostly found in the Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts of Karnataka and Kasaragod district of Kerala. Bunts have a rich culture, which is unique in many ways to their community. Bunts form an integral and important part of the socioeconomic culture of the region.

The rituals performed during various life events also are unique. This is an attempt to compile important rituals performed at various stages of a person’s life.

Bunts Customs - By Alok Rai

Traditional Birth

When a pregnant woman informs the start of labor pains, someone from the family goes to fetch the “bijalthi” or pedupavuna ponjovu. She is taken to the kotya. All necessary items required are gathered and taken to the kotya. It is common to have a helper to take care of the peddoldi (new mother) and the baby.

The helper or other elder women and the bijalthi make the expecting mother comfortable and coach her to push the baby. If the head of the baby comes out first, the delivery is going to be easy.If a hand or a leg comes out first, then the delivery is going to be complicated. The bijalthi orients in the baby to proper position to ease the complications. The bijalthi informs the waiting members the arrival of the baby. The time of the birth is recorded accordingly. This is later used to prepare jathaka of the child.

The puvoluda ballu (umbilical cord) is cut off using the gejjekatthi (a small knife) and tied with a fresh cotton thread. The baby is expected to cry as soon as it comes out. If it does not cry, they tap the baby’s face with warm water and make it cry. The baby is cleaned. During the wash, the nose, forehead and face are softly rubbed to define their shape. The baby is covered in clean clothes and placed in a thadpe or a paale. The head is placed on a cherige so that the head stays straight up.

Bijalthi checks for the presence of second baby. If there is no sign of the second baby, they wait for the kajel or kasa (placenta) to come out. Once the kajel is out, it is buried in a pit near the bathhouse. The peddoldi gets cleaned. A sari is tied to her stomach to constrain the loose belly, like a corset. She then gets a drink made of kaljirige and ole bella. Bijalthi’s work is now complete. She is appropriately rewarded for her service.

The nourishing of the mother begins and continues for next forty days. The helping woman gives bath to both the mother and the baby. Ponne oil is applied to the body and massaged before the bath. The peddoldi is not allowed to do any chores around the house. The diet for the first few days after the delivery is mainly solid with minimum fluid or water intake. Various types of food are prepared during the next few weeks. The peddoldi mard includes kaljeerige, garlic, shunti (ginger), ole bellaand common spices prepared in various forms and formulations. The food includes kori kashaya (chicken curry), manni,ganji (rice) with different lentils, and are eaten at various stages of the recovery process.

On the fifth day, the cleansing process begins. This ritual is called ame or ame shuddi. The madiwala lady or madyelthi orkelesi comes to help in this process. The mother and the baby get cleaned. The house is cleansed with cow-dung. Then, the theertha brought from the village temple is sprinkled in different directions of the house. The mother and the baby are then brought inside the house. Untill ame shuddi is done the members of her family have suthaka and are not allowed to enter temples or participate in any celebrations such as wedding.

On the sixteenth day of birth, the baby is ceremoniously placed in the cradle. This is called bale tottil padune. The auspicious moment for this ceremony is determined by the purohit . The cradle is suspended from the ceiling, the length of the cradle oriented along the east-west direction. Two women stand on either side of the cradle. One takes the baby from the mother and transfers to the other women over the cradle and then receives it back from her under the cradle. This is repeated three times. Then the baby is ceremoniously placed in the cradle, head facing east. If the family has planned to take the baby to a temple for his/her first rice meal, the baby is not fed in the cradle. Otherwise, crushed ganji is fed to the baby in the cradle. The guests place money or other gifts in the hands of the baby.

The naming ceremony is performed during the ame shuddhi or cradle ceremony. It is common to name the baby after the grand parents. The name could also be based on astrological method. The first character of the name is selected based on the janma nakshatra (birth star).

On the fortieth day, the mother is prepared for the nalpa neer meepune. This marks the final day of her recovery process. After finishing her bath, she would dress herself. Then she ceremonially draws water from the well in a small chembu. She pours part of the water from the chembu to the ‘tulasi katte’, and uses the rest to wash her feet. Then she goes to the village temple. Special meal is prepared for that day. Now, the mother is ready to take part in all household activities.

The husband along with a woman (sister or aunt) visits the new mother and the baby. The husband pays “maryadi” to the woman who took care of his wife and baby. This could include clothes, money or jewels. They decide on the day and time for the mother to return to her in-laws. The ceremony of the baby coming to its father’s house for the first time is called thottil bale popune. The first daughter generally gets the family thottil and she will take it with her. If she is not the first daughter, then a new thottil is purchased for her first child. The cradle used by the baby in mother’s house is not removed when the baby is gone.



Coming of Age

The ceremony which celebrates the child coming of age is observed by removing the hair. First hair removing ceremony for the baby boys is called chavala (or chowla). This is either performed at home or in a temple. This ceremony is generally performed only for the first son. On an auspicious day, the barber after symbolically obtaining permission from the elders of the family removes hair of the child. Later the child is given bath and brought inside the house. The goldsmith will bring a pair of ear rings and pierce the ear lobes while the boy is sitting on his father’s lap. The child then wears new clothes and celebrates his coming of age with friends and relatives.

For girls, the first hair cut and ear piercing events are not celebrated as grand as for the boys. On the fifth day of the first period, the passage of a girl to womanhood is celebrated. This is called kara pattavune. Only women participate in this ceremony. The kelesi comes and does the manicure and pedicure for the new woman. A mane (stool) is placed close to the tulasi katte. A clean chembu filled with water is placed near the seat. One of the women brings the girl and seats her on the mane. The women pour water on the head, shoulders and the knees of the girl. After the bath, the girl gets dressed in jari saree and jewels. This is followed by the girl ceremonially cooking rice in a kara (rice pot). This is called kara pattavune.Then, the women give gifts to the girl and bless her. It is customary for the girl not to stay in the house where the ceremony was performed for the night.



Marriage

In the olden days, the engagements used to happen when the child was still in the cradle. The wedding ceremony was performed when the child reaches 4-5 years of age. High incidences of child mortality lead to lot of difficulties and complications. Therefore, this traditional was abandoned and the weddings were performed before the girl reaches puberty. With time, the wedding age for the girl has changed to post puberty.

The relatives of a man who has attained marriageable age approach the family with an eligible daughter. The selection criteria was not based only on the girl or the boy. It depended also on the social standing of the family.

One or more of the following criteria were used in determining a suitable alliance.In general, lineage (bari or bali), land/property, type of land, agriculture, family structure, position of the family within the society, etc., were used to measure the compatibility of the two parties. If the boy and the girl were of the same bari, the alliance will not go forward. If the family is a landlord family, the family status and equivalence of the two families may determine whether the alliance would go forward. If the family had agriculture, whether the property is swantha (owned) or gheni (leased), total agriculture land, how many pairs of eru (bullocks) they have, water resources etc would determine the present and future financial status of the family. The education level of the family head and siblings and other people who live in the house, living style, if the siblings are married, the family of their spouses, the age and physical build of the boy or the girl were used as factors for deciding on the alliance.

Marriage between the children of a brother and a sister is sodara sambandha (marriage between first cousins). By lineage, this marriage is allowed in bunt community. Marriages between cousins were encouraged for reasons such as keeping the property within the family, improving the ties/cooperation between the two families, avoiding the trouble of searching for a new family relationship, helping out a brother or a sister who is in financial hardship etc. These relationships were decided some times at birth. Over the years sodara sambandha marriages have less common.

The boy along with a few elders of the family goes to see the girl (ponnu thoopune). If they like the girl and the family, then they invite the girl’s family to visit them. Once the two families decide to go forward with the relationship, the horoscopes (jathaka or kundali) of the boy and the girl are taken to a purohit to determine the match. This is done either by one party or both parties together go to the purohit. The two horoscopes should match (or more or less match). If the star power of the girl is stronger than the boy or the girl is older than the boy, they may not continue with the alliance. In the event one of the parties does not have the horoscope prepared, it is a common practice to go to the family deity or an agreed upon temple and perform a puja. The number of flowers or the color of the flowers given by the priest as prasadam is used to determine the match of the relationship (this method is called poo deppune). If they do not match, the relationship is not continued. Once the match is confirmed, it was not customary to reject the girl on the basis of looks, beauty or color. It was not common to ask for badi (dowry). However, depending on the boy’s qualifications and/or family status, it was common to offer token dowry as agreed by the two families. Once the match is confirmed, the relationship is not terminated due to disagreements on the amount of dowry.

All visits till the go-forward decision is made are informal. The two families would not accept formal meal at each others house. Women normally did not participate in the process. When the decision is made to go forward, the close family of the boy would visit the girl’s family for a formal visit. The boy is generally accompanied by his father, elder brother, brother-in-law, grand father and maternal uncle. The hosts would have arranged for a sammana (lavish meal) for the guests. After the meal, the two parties discuss the wedding details. The boy's side invites the girl's family to decide the wedding date and place.

The two parties consult a panchanga (almanac) or a purohit to determine the convenient date and time for the wedding. When the girl’s relatives come to the boy’s house, they decide on the place and the time for the dibbana to arrive. The distance between the marriage place and the dibbana time determines whether the marriage muhurtha (auspicious moment or time) is for the day or the evening. As a symbol of engagement, the veelya is exchanged between the two families. If there is a dowry payment, part or the entire dowry is paid. If only part of the dowry is paid, the date for the payment of remainder of the dowry is also agreed to. The drafts of the invitation cards for both families are prepared.

Marriages are not held in the months of Paggu and Aati. Tuesdays are not considered auspicious. During the jatre (festivities) at the village temples or family deities, marriages are not performed. Ugadi, Anatha chathurdashi and vijaya dashami are considered very auspicious. Some believe that Thursdays and Fridays are auspicious. Abhijin muhurtha (noon time) and godhuli lagna (evening) are considered auspicious. Since the transportation was not very convenient in olden days, godhuli lagna was preferred over the abhijin muhurtha.

There is no rule on where the wedding ceremony is performed. Depending on where the wedding is, the other party brings the dibbana. It is common to have the ceremony performed in a temple or a function hall. In this situation, both parties bring dibbana.

Wedding mantapa is prepared by the host party. It is generally a raised platform where all the marriage ceremony is performed. Seating arrangements are made for the guests around the mantapa. A dompa is built to provide shade (or cover from rain). The dompa and mantapa are decorated with banana plants, flowers and mango leaves.

The family elders pray to the family or village deity and proceed on the dibbana (wedding procession) with relatives and friends. The bride and the groom are carried in a dandige and elders and women ride the decorated gaadi (bullock cart). The dibbana also includes a music band, banner holders, deetige (torch) carriers, and other necessary help.

The hosts make arrangements for the dibbana to stay in the temple hall or with their relatives. Once the dibbana arrives, the head of the host family accompanied by nine married women and the band goes to receive the guests. They carry flowers, kumkuma, akshathe, kurdi neer, and panneeru (rose water). Women put akshathe on the bride or the groom followed by arathi. Rose water is sprinkled, kurdi neer is raised to ward-off the drishti, and flower is offered to the women of the dibbana party and escorted inside. The arrival of the guests is announced to the assembled people by kombu and trumpets.

he bridegroom and the bride take a ceremonial bath. It is common to use turmeric water for bath. The barber completes the shaving, pedicure and manicure for the groom and pedicure and manicure for the bride. Madirengi is put on the bride. The kaajidaaye or balegaara (the person who sells bangles) puts bangles on the bride and other assembled women. The goldsmith puts the kaalungura (toe rings) for the groom and the bride. Bride and the groom get dressed for the ceremony.

If the bride has reached puberty, she wears a saree and if she is a small pre-teen then wears a half-saree or a dress. She gets dressed with mundale (a pendant like jewel that is placed on the forehead) and flowers on her hair, necklaces with gold, silver, pearl and other precious stones and sontapatti (a belt, usually made of gold or silver). The groom wears a kacche or shetty - kacche (a traditional way of wearing dhoti), full sleeve shirt, a peta (head gear, also known as mundasu) and a shawl. He wears rings, necklaces and precious stone ear rings.

As the wedding muhurtha nears, the bridegroom and the bride arrive at the dompa. The groom enters the hall first. When he reaches the entrance of the dompa, his brother-in-law (sister's husband) washes his feet and escorts him to the mantapa. He holds the right hand of the groom with his right hand and walks in front of the groom. This is called kait pattune (holding hand). Kombu and trumpets accompany them. Once he is seated, the bride arrives. The groom's sister repeats the same for the bride. The bride sits to the right side of the groom. The ceremony begins by the couple exchanging garlands, groom puts the garland on the bride first.

Dharegindi is filled with water and tulasi leaves. The mouth of the gindi is covered with jackfruit leaves, mango leaves and a coconut. The maternal uncle and the parents of the bride take the dharegindi to the assembled elders for their blessing.Dhare is then performed. In this ritual, the bride's hand is placed over the groom's hand, palm side up. The dhare water is poured over their hands three times by the maternal uncle of the bride. A plate is held below their hands to collect the water. The groom and the bride are now husband and wife. They exchange their positions and now she sits to his left. Following this, the groom ties the karimani to the bride. There are quite a few rituals that have got incorporated to the wedding ceremony. A homa is performed by a priest in the mantapa. The bride walks seven steps with the groom (saptapadi). This is then followed by dhare. After the dhare, the bride and the groom are seated for akshathe or maru sese or ari padune. A group of five or seven women perform aarathi to the new couple. It is common to sing shobane (marriage songs) during arathi. After the arathi, they put kumkuma to the new couple. A senior member of the family brings a plate filled with akshate (usually rice mixed with flower petals) and puts the akshathe on the newly weds. She then requests the guests to put akshathe. It is customary to give money to the bride and the groom. Someone records the name of the person and the amount being presented.

The new-weds are then escorted out of the marriage hall. This ritual is called dompa-jappune. If the wedding is in the temple, at this time they go and pray to the deity. Otherwise, they just take a few steps out of the dompa. The close relatives accompany the couple along with the band. The accompanying sister and brother-in-law of the groom hold the umbrella for the new couple. The couple re-enter the hall. At this time, the brother of the bride washes the feet of the newly weds. The groom has to reward his brother-in-law for his service. The groom is given a bonda, he drinks part of the bonda and asks his wife to drink the rest. She refuses to drink the “made (left over)” of her husband. He then ties a gift (generally money or gold) in her pallu and she drinks the bonda.

This completes the rituals of the wedding ceremony. The newly weds are then escorted to the dining area by the sister and brother-in-law of the groom. The newly weds eat with the assembled guests. After the meal, the newly weds seek the blessings the elders.

The ritual of ponnu occhune or ponnu oppisune (entrusting the bride to her new family) is performed. The elder woman of the bride's family brings the bride to the elder woman of the groom's family. She raises the right hand of the bride and places it on the hands of the elder woman and requests her to take care of the bride as their daughter. She then asks the bride to perform her duties as the daughter-in-law of the family.

The bride then leaves for her in-laws. She is accompanied by someone from her family, generally a young girl. This is called “kuruntu popune”. A few elders arrive at the home before the newly weds arrive. The elders prepare the kurdi neer and remove dhristi dosha on the new couple. They pray at the tulasi katte and the bride enters the house with her right foot forward. They are offered milk or bonda to drink. If the wedding is on a Tuesday, the bride has to return to her parent's house.

The daughter-in-law can not touch her brother-in-laws (elder brothers of her husband) in person or their belongings. Since most of the families were undivided families, it is not always feasible to follow this rule. Therefore, when the bride arrives at her in-laws, she gives veelya to her brother-in-law and touches his feet, seeking his forgiveness if she touches his belongings or person as a part of co-existence. She is also not allowed to call her husband, mother-in-law and brother-in-laws by their given name.

The marriage is followed by a feast at the bride's house. This is called maami (mother-in-law) sikhe. The newly weds arrive to the party with his friends and family. This is groom’s first visit to his in-laws after the wedding. The youngsters generally play prank on the groom. The maami has to give maami sike maryadi (a gift) to the groom as a part of this ritual.

This is then followed by the mother of the bride visiting the groom's house. This is called marmaya (son-in-law)-sikhe. This is her first visit to her daughter’s house.

It is customary for the bride to go to her mother for the month of aati for “aati kullune”.

Illa marmaye (son-in-law who lives with in-laws) used be a common practice among bunts, especially if the girl’s side did not have a son.



Pregnancy

Now, both families await the good news. In the fist pregnancy, there are special rituals performed at both families. The pregnant woman is not offered meal in a kodi-ire (top part of banana leaf) till these rituals are performed.

The first ritual is at the mother’s house. During the seventh month, on an auspicious day, the pregnant woman visits her mother. This ritual is called seemantha, bayake or putting flower on the expecting mother. Mallige, sevanthige and abballige are commonly used flowers for this ceremony. A pingara (areca nut flower) with signs of nuts formed within the cover is carefully removed from the tree, making sure that the cover is intact. All flowers are placed on the tulasi katte and then used for dressing the expecting mother. Close relatives of the mother's family and neighbors are invited. Only a few people from the husband's family attend the function. The expecting mother is dressed up for the occasion with jari saree and jewels.

The bayake starts at the auspicious moment. The expecting mother prays at the tulasi katte and sits down holding a veelya (betel leaves and areca nut) and a nanya (coin). In a table in front of her, a plate with akshate is placed. A lamp is lit to her right side. On a harivana (big copper or brass plate) or banana leaf different kinds of sweets made for the occasion are placed. It generally contains odd number of items and odd number of pieces of each item. Acchu bella (jaggary) and ghee are the two essential items. The expecting mother gives pieces of the sweets to the children.

Some people give money to the expecting mother. This money is either given to her husband or in some cases to the mother to cover the expenses of the delivery. A lavish meal with fish and chicken or meat is prepared. In some areas, people prepare curries with basale or drumstick leaves for this occasion. After the meal, she goes back to her in-laws.

This is then followed by a grand bayake at the husband's house. This is generally done during the eighth month of the pregnancy. Relatives from both families are invited.

The function starts with the kori-budupuna (letting go the chicken) ritual. A plate with rice and deepa are placed next to thetulasi katte. The sister-in-law of the expecting mother holds the right hand and takes her around the tulaski katte. They then stand next to the tulasi katte, the expecting mother facing east and the mother-in-law facing the west. The mother-in-law circles a small chicken over the woman’s head three times to ward-off dhristhi. She will hold the chicken in her hand and asks the expecting mother to feed the rice to the chicken. The chicken is fed three times and then released. The chicken should not lay eggs before the woman delivers the baby (the selection of the chicken is done very carefully keeping the term of the pregnancy and the maturity of the chicken in mind). The chicken can not be a rooster (the sex of the chick is not very clear till they are a few months old making the task of selecting the chicken very difficult, especially if the bayake is done early in the pregnancy). The chicken stays in the husband’s house and the woman can not eat this chicken.

Then the mother-in-law presents a saree and jewelry along with betel nut and five betel leaves to the expecting mother. She then gets dressed. The expecting mother is seated for the bayake. The husband places pingaara on the mudi (hair) of his wife. The women perform the bayake balasune ritual. In this ritual, the expecting mother is given a glass. The women put a spoon of amritha (toddy) and grains of pori (puffed rice) to the glass.

After this ritual, a table is placed in front of her. A white piece of cloth is placed on the table and a banana leaf is placed on this cloth. All the sweets and fruits are placed on the banana leaf by the mother-in-law or sister-in-laws. Odd number of items and odd number of pieces for each item are served on the leaf. The expecting mother then will pick a few pieces and give to small children. The sweets are then bundled using the cloth underneath.

Following this, the expecting mother eats lunch. Her “made” banana leaf is refilled with fresh food and placed on a thadpe. It is carried outside the house where a kadu-koraga[ lady would be waiting. The expecting mother gives the thadpe with food to the kadu-koraga lady. She puts enne (oil) on the head of the kadu-koraga lady. This is called enne-padune.

The elders of the family pray and put aside a coin (this is called mudipu kattune) that would be offered to the temple after the delivery. Expecting mother then leaves for her mother’s house. The bundle of goodies is sent with her to her mother’s house. The expecting mother will return to her in-laws with the baby.



Death

The death of a member in the family is informed to the other bunts in the neighborhood by a harijana. This is called marana helike. The messenger is paid by the recipient of the message.

The body is shifted to the chavadi of the house. A fistful of rice is placed near the head and the fistful of paddy is placed near the feet of the body. A coconut broken into equal halves is placed on the rice and paddy heap. A deepa is lit on these coconut halves filled with coconut oil. Care is taken to ensure that the deepa keeps burning till the body is shifted to the cremation site. Incense sticks are placed near the head and feet of the body. Women keep a watch on the body as the close relatives and neighbors arrive. The cremation should happen within a day of the death. Therefore, unless preparations are made, the cremation is done without waiting for all relatives to arrive. It is customary for everyone to bring a punotha kuntu (white piece of cloth) to put on the body.

The harijana and assembled men prepare the kaata (pyre). The family usually have a doopeda kanda, an exclusive piece of land for cremation. The kaata is made of logs from freshly logged mango tree. It is also common to use coconut shells or other dried firewood along with the fresh logs, especially in rainy season, to aid the burning process.

As the kaata is being prepared, turmeric powder mixed with oil is applied on the body and cleansed with warm water. If the deceased is the male person, close male relatives perform this ritual and if a female, female relatives perform the ritual. The puna (corpse) is wrapped in a piece of cloth and brought inside the house. The puna is dressed like a bride (if deceased is a female) or groom (if deceased is a male). All jewels are taken out of the body and a piece of gold is put under the tongue. A garland made of ‘tulasi leaves’ is placed on the puna. The puna is then shifted to a single plantain leaf, head facing the south. Close relatives and neighbors place sheets of cloth they have brought with them on the puna. Sandal wood and flower wreaths may also be placed on the body.

All close relatives put water in the mouth of the puna. This is called “neer budpune”. After the completion of this ritual, the puna is carried to the kaata by the son and other assembled men. This is called puna-deppune. The men chant “Govinda Govinda” as the puna is carried to the kaata. The puna is carried around the kaata in anticlockwise direction and placed on the kaata, head facing south. In some cases, the clothes put on the puna are removed and donated to the harijanas. Additional wood is placed on the puna to cover it fully. The eldest son puts the fire to the kaata near the feet of the body. All the items used, such as plantain leaf, incense sticks etc. are bundled together and thrown to the kaata. The men wait till most of the body is burnt, specifically, the chest part is burnt before leaving. The people come back and have bath before entering the house. The house is cleaned. Rice and chutney are prepared for the assembled people. The assembled elders decide on the next rituals. The family is in suthaka till the bojja or uttara kriya.

On the fifth day after the cremation, the boodhi oppa or boodhi mucchune (covering the ashes) is observed. The madiwala comes for this ceremony. The ash is made into a heap. The skeletal bones are collected and tied in a white cloth and put in an urn and tied to a tree branch. The ash is then covered and dhoope (mound) is made. A tulsi plant is planted on thedhoope. The male members of the family shave their head and facial hair as a respect to the dead. The madiwala performs this ritual. The bojja is performed on the eleventh or the thirteenth day after the cremation, avoiding a Friday or a Tuesday.

After boodhi oppa ritual the heir of the family fills a chembu with water and keeps it next to a deepa in the chavadi. This ritual is called “neer deepune” The water is changed twice a day. The other members of the family may join him. All participants pay respect to the dead by tying their hand behind the head and walk around the “water” in anticlockwise direction three times. This ritual is continued till the uttara kriya.

If the family decides to build a gori (monument) for the deceased person, it is built over the dhoope. The construction of thegori is completed before the bojja or uttara kriya ritual.

The neighbors and relatives send various items such as rice, coconut, ash pumpkin, banana, vegetables etc for the bojja. This is called pude korpune. This is meant to help the family out at the time of their crisis. Neighbors and relatives come and help to prepare for the bojja.

On the uttara kriya day, the madiwala gives shaving to the family members. The carpenter decorates the dhoope or the gori. He makes a wooden replica of the deceased person (called neer nirel). A feast is prepared in the honor of the deceased person. The menu should contain kayi (plantain) and kumbuda (ash pumpkin, winter melon) curry, and aritha payasa (rice pudding). Individual members of the family sponsor various items like holige, laddu, jilebi etc.

After the meal is prepared, all items are served in a banana leaf and placed at an elevated place away from the house for the crows (kakkeg deedune). Crows are supposed to come and eat that food. Crows are considered as representatives of our ancestors. After the crows touch the food, people eat the meal.

On the sixteenth day after death, the ritual of padinaji koodisavune (aligning the kule or spirit of the deceased with other spirits of the family) is performed. This ritual is performed by women. Sixteen banana leaves are placed along the wall in a room and the seventeenth leaf is placed away from the first sixteen. Non-vegetarian food is served on these leaves. A bowl, made of banana leaf, filled with toddy is placed with the food. Dhoopa (smoke) is held over the food. The eldest woman of the family performs the prayer. She then joins the new spirit with other spirits by joining the seventeenth leaf with the others. The spirit now rests in peace.

The spirits are then remembered during pithr paksha as well as during parba or diwali (deepavali). On these occasions, special food is prepared and served to the spirits of family ancestors. This is called kulekuleg balasune. Female members of the family perform this ritual. During other festive occasions, such as special days or functions, the meal is offered to the spirits as soon as the food is prepared.