Bhubaneswar: ST and SC Development Department has taken up a virtual tour to Odisha State Tribal Museum on every Sunday.
This Sunday, visitors can visit the dance and songs of the Koya tribe by opening the Facebook and Twitter Pages @stscdev, @scstrti said Director, SCSTRTI, Prof. Dr. A.B. Ota.
Dance and music are central to the celebrations of Koya festivals, The sacred seed festival of Bijapadu is celebrated in the month of Chaitra.
The festival honours the village Goddess Gudimata and appeals to her for a bountiful harvest. During this festival, it is the Koya women who sing, dance and play drums to welcome the men from a ritual hunting expedition.
On other occasions, men and women dance together. At such times, the women don brass headbands and use sticks fitted with bells called Gujuri to beat the ground in rhyme with the music.
The men wear a special headdress of bison horn and cowries. This headdress is elaborate in its construction and is passed down from generations.
The Koya are one of the few communities in this region that use cowries for ornamentation. The men hang large drums from their neck and which they beat at the time of the dance.
The bison horn attire of the Koya has a close similarity with that of the Marias of Bastar and is believed to have similar magical significance.
The men often engage in mock fights that mimic the bison during the dance. It is through these festivals and dances the community reinforces its connection with nature and maintains harmony and respect for the environment.