The festivities begin with puja to the mother earth in the front yard
Come Sunday. People, especially agriculturists, in Tulu Nadu will observe the “keddaso” ritual (worshipping mother earth) for three days.
According to Paltady Ramakrishna Achar, past president of Karnataka Tulu Sahitya Academy, the “keddaso” begins on the 27th day of Tulu month Ponni and ends on the “sankramana” day. Hence this year the ritual would be held from February 10 to 12.
Calling it “fertility cult ritual”, Mr. Achar said it was a ritual of respecting the nature.
After the fall season, trees come to life with green shoots in “Ponni” month. Then follows the harvest season when fruits become ripe.
He said that people believed the three days as the annual menstruation cycle of the mother earth. The coming days would be fertile for bearing fruit. On the first day of “keddaso”, they offer puja to the mother earth in the front yard using mango, jackfruit leaves, garike hullu, turmeric powder, and so on. Oil is offered (poured) to the earth to symbolise that the mother earth should bathe with it. The second day, people hunt animals considered a nuisance to crops. On the last day, “bhoomi puja” is performed by pouring milk on the earth and offering a sari, a blouse piece, vegetables, and food.
Mr. Achar said the ritual was observed in rural Tulu Nadu although it had vanished from urban areas.
Ganesh Ameen Sankamar, a columnist on Tulu culture and head of Department of Kannada, St. Aloysius Pre-University College, said that on the second day people hunted kunda kori or pundade (a species of bird) which fed on paddy and wild boar which destroys crops. But now hunting appeared to be only symbolic.
He said that people ate a mix of rice and “kudu” (whole seeds of horse gram) without baking it. Some ate “rotti payasa” and manually grinded rice while observing the ritual.
Mr. Sankamar said that people stayed away from agriculture during the three days.
This was the way how people respected mother earth, he said.