Udayavni Special

‘Gore Habba:’ Festival celebrated with cow dung playfights


Team Udayavani, Nov 16, 2020, 2:13 PM IST

Chamrajanagar: The festival of lights Deepavali is celebrated in many different forms along with the traditional lighting of lamps and bursting of firecrackers.

One such special form of celebration is the ‘Gore Habba’ celebrated across the State border here at Gumatapura village in Tamil Nadu.

This unique festival celebration includes throwing cow dung on each other and is being practised in the mostly Kannada-speakers village for generations.

This celebration is held on the next day of the Deepavali Balipadyami. Men of the village stand on a mound of the cow dung, throwing the dung on each other.

This year the Gore Habba will be held on Tuesday, November 17.

The festival celebrations begin in the afternoon. After performing pooja at the village’s Karapappa Temple, two villagers dressed as ‘Kondakkar’ are brought on donkeys in a procession to the dung-heaped area. Kondakkar, wearing an artificial beard and moustache, makes odd signs, gestures and postures.

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Before this, cow dung from each house is brought and heaped near the Bireshwara temple in the village.

After performing pooja of the cow dung mound, men wearing only shorts, start playing in and throwing the cow dung.

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The playful festival celebration reaches its climax by evening after which the men come to the banks of the village lake, shout profanities at each other and after washing up bring the Gore Habba to an end.

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The Gore Habba is unique in that there’s no other village in India that has a festival celebration similar to it.

This festival celebration at Gumatapura has a legendary background. In the village, hundreds of years ago, a man working in the house of a local Gowda family died. After his death, his sling bag is thrown into a heap of cow dung. Afterwards, the wheel of the family’s bullock cart breaks loose while travelling. It is noticed that the wheel had come over the sling bag of the worker and blood is oozing out of a phallic-shaped stone near it.

That same night the head of the Gowda family sees a dream where a divine voice informs him that he must build a hut as repentance and must perform the cow dung celebration on the next day after Deepavali.

The cow dung playfight festival is said to have started from the following year.

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