The Five Elements in the Danda Rituals of Orissa

Ileana Citaristi


Citaristi traces the Danda rituals of Orissa and its origins. It looks at how the Danda uses the elements of water, fire, air and dust to represent the earthly and agrarian concerns of the performers. Spring and autumn are seasons of change, and marked by elaborate and difficult rituals to the Siva-Sakti cult
icons. The Dandas use these rituals as a means not only of reinforcing their age-old practices but also to ensure continued prosperity of their agricultural pursuits. It is interesting to note the strong Tantric roots to the celebrations, which are marked by penance, fasting and heavy physical action.

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