Tuesday, June 19, 2007

CHHEY - KOR FESTIVAL OF MY PEOPLE, THE SHERDUKPENS





On Chhey-Kor(Choskor) festival first Chhey-Kor-Thug-Khrushi (Prayer Performed to purify the whole village) is done in the early morning from 5 to 6 am towards the East,West ,North and South directions of the village.Then two Keng-Pu brothers(two people wearing masks or Guards of GELONG DOYAN TANZIN or GURU-PADMA SAMBHABA) do Damto(means controlling the devils from raising their evil heads) in each and every house of the village .JO-OW-MEME(GELONG DOYAN TANZIN masquerading as deaf and dumb) follows the KENG-PU performing RAM-NEY. He also does Oohu-Lu-Wa(offers blessing) to the people. Then at around 8-9am CHHEY-BEKHAN-PU (Convoy of young girls carrying sacred books) ceremony starts. The ceremony is performed by group of people consisting of Lamu(Monks) and selected young girls. These people all together walk in a queue .The processioin is headed by the lamu(monk) then followed by the girls carrying Chhey (sacred books). A pair of dancers known as TANG-TANG-MUH(Care taker of gods and goddesses) with mask go dancing to the left and the right of the convoy of young girls carrying sacred books sprinkling water to purify the text .Two dancers known as DJZAM (protector of holy script) move with Lamus(monks) at the front of the sacred convoy. The sacred convoy moves around the Lhagang(Gompa) three times in clock wise direction before proceeding on day long Choskor(to make around the village) .



Thereafter Lamus(monks) perform Sherkim(prayer) towards the Sar(east) .Then the villagers take Kaso-Wang(blessing from the GURU PADMA SAMBHAVA) from the sacred convoy. The same prayer is performed in the west, north and the south directions. When the chanting of prayer by the Lamus(monks) completes at the western point the MAK-PEY-PU(youth dressed as warriors) reaches the particular spot of prayer from north and south directions .After Performing prayer dancers, monks and others are offered TERZI-FAK(valued sacred local beer).The MAK-PEY-PU then stages or demonstrates a short pseudo-war. The main responsibilities of the MAK-PEY-PU is to clear the path for the sacred convoy .They make short log bridges ,clears obstacles on the path and put boulders on the muddy areas for easy access of the sacred convoy.
The next stoppage is Khocho-Hien-Ponh where the BROG-PUS(cowboys) waits for the prayer to be performed for the wel-being of the domestic cattle .The prayer will be performed by JO-OW-MEME while the KENG-PU brothers will look after the domestic cattle till the prayer is over. The ABOH-SHU (group of senior citizen) have to reach the Khocho-Hieh-Ponh on time. After offering the prayer the BROG-PUS (cowboys) will offer three bottles of pure milk , a cake of Paneer and curd to JHO-OW-MEME. Also three bottles of milk are offered to ABHO-SU. In return ABHO-SU will give them three hundred pieces of Sali (bettle nuts) and three bottles of fak (local rice beer) to BROKPU. Then the group will move for the next spot called as ‘Kro’. Its a lunch spot. Before reaching the ‘Kro’ the ABOH-SU and the MAK-PEY-PU will perform the pseudo-war game for few minutes with great joy. Then everybody will proceed for the lunch.



After lunch; first a dance will be performed by JO-OW-MEME , then KENG-PU brothers, followed by TANG-TANG-MU and ends with DZJAM (protector of holy script). Then they all proceed towards the next stoppage called Bokhri-Khang-Kha. Again a prayer is performed by the Lamus or Abots the stoppage followed by the pseudo-war game by the MAK-PEY-PUS and the ABOH-SU. At the stoppage each young girls have to donate 400 pieces of Sali (betel nuts) to TANG-TANG-MU and DZJAM dancers. Except the ABOH-SU,the group of people proceeds towards the next stoppage called Chhor-Teng-Baw(Zopo-Blang).

At the Chhor-Teng-Baw(Zopo-Blang) villagers welcome the holy convoy and receive their Wang(blessing) from them. Monks once again offers prayer, followed by the dance of TANG-TANG-MU, DJZAM , JHO-OW-MEME and KENG-PU brothers. In the mean time a group of ladies hide a pot of fak which is considered a nectre to be offered to the people in the Zopo-Blang has to be found out by the KENG-PU brothers. If they fail to do so the ladies penalize them with three numbers of Donh (White Scarf), and three hundred pieces of Salis. But if they i.e KENG-PU brothers succeed in finding out the pot(containing sacred nectre of wine) then the ladies are penalized and accordingly offers three pots containing sacred nectre of wine with numbers of Dohs(Scarf) to the KENG-PU brothers. At the same time ABOH-SU with the Chhey-Bikhan(Holy convoy) will proceed towards the Chhey-Kor-Baw with three Fak-Zandong and Karsang-Foh (white flag) to receive the other ABO-SU from the village who didn’t participate during procession of holy convoy.
At the Chey-Kor-Baw, ABU-SU meet with one another and they proceed towards Zopo-Blang. But before the Zopo-Blang they have to cross a river. While crossing the river MAK-PHEY-PU and the ABOH-SU will perform a water-game by splashing water to one another in a competitive manner as if they are fighting at war . After the water-game is over the group again performs a war-game known as Khapi- Khagpa by holding MAK-KUHK(Shield) by the MAKH-PEY-PU and sticks by the ABOH-SU. The game is played with great shill and gives a unique wholesome entertainment before all villagers on the spot.



After the game is over the Monks and the dancers alongwith the sacred convoy will proceed towards the Lhagang (Gompa). The MAK-KUHK will be kept in the Zopo-Blang and a LURZANG (Holy song) is sung by two selected persons. At about 9 pm both elders and youth will proceed for Lhagang by singing and dancing LURZANG. At the Lhagang (Gompa) the two singers will continue to sing LURZANG while the MAK-PEY-PUS keep dancing with sticks in hand. The singing and the dancing will continue till a violent dance is performed known as Lo-Zamba thrice to thwart the cause of evils on the citizens and to please gods, goddesses and deities to give us bounty of blessings and asking apology for any unwanted actions committed during the procession of carriage of holy text books around the village . At the dawn group of young girls offer fak known as JAP-CHHANG-PHAK(sacred drinks made of rice beer) to all the participants viz. ABOH-SU,MAK-PEY-PU and others and accordingly ends the day long festival to begin month long festival called Chhey-Kor from the next day.