Dec 282014

Burning dolls to protect your brothers: Sama Chakeva in a Terai village.

The brother-sister festival at Tihar is only one of several others. In Maithili communities across the Terai, love between brothers and sisters is also celebrated at Sama Chakeva in commemoration of heroic acts of two mythic sieblings. Sama, a young daughter of the god Krishna, was once falsely accused of wrongdoings and punished by being turned into a bird. Her brother took fearless action out of love to his sister which finally brought Sama back to human form. This video captures a night’s rituals from a village outside Janakpur: watch as sisters gather to sing in worship of their brothers, burning clay dolls that symbolise enemies and evil spirits – all to protect their brothers in the year to come. It’s a happy and fun ritual – but also one of respect and love, and centuries old.

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