Devkare: From Dead to Deva (God)
Updated: Oct 1, 2020
Devkare is a ritual performed by the Dangi people in the month of Posha to transform the dead into Gods. On the ritual day, family members of the deceased gather to remember them and mourn for one last time.
Family members offer water as a tribute to the dead, and the Dhaka, a special tribal damroo-like instrument which is tied to the leg, is played. The Dhaka is only used for the proceedings for the Devkare, and is rarely played otherwise. The tribespeople sing songs about the origin of human life and the philosophy of death.
Living family members communicate with the dead in the ritual through a person known as 'Ghumaro'. The soul of the departed enters Ghumaro's body, making him tremble violently. Through this, the deceased convey their last wishes to living family members, who then strive to fulfil them for the rest of the year.
At the end of the ritual, an idol or betel nut is placed inside a 'Pidhi'. Pidhi, meaning generation in Hindi, is a collection of betelnuts/idols for all members of a family that have passed away. The Pidhis of various families are kept stored together in a Devgharen and are worshipped on the full moon day.
It is said that after the Devkare, the family never weeps for the dead again.
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