Badagas

Badagas are inspirational and zealous people who have made their home amidst the ooty hills. Their tradition and culture is very unique. They enjoy full cultural freedom and excitement in terms of the various festivities,food,dance and music. There are occasion-based foods, daily foods and seasonal foods.They are nature lovers and most of their customs are nature oriented which means they live healthy. Food especially is prepared with a lot of ardor and care. Though a minority group they are well known for their culture. They are farmers by occupation, their main cultivation being coffee and tea. They also produce carrots,cabbages,radishes,potatoes and strawberry. They export tea and strawberry. Their weddings are simple and elegant. 



Backbone of the badagas:
Cultural integrity
Agriculture
Hospitality
Unity





Village Structure


There are nearly 350 villages. These villages are broadly divided into four partitions (naakubetta) based on the marital arrangements. As per the ancestral laws of the land, no two people can marry within the same partition as they are considered as brothers and sisters. There is one common head for all these four partitions.
Every village has a head (gowda). Under him is an executive committee. Together they take care of the village internal and external affairs. They manage their financial matters by collecting equal amount of tax from the villagers for every village related events. Their decisions are always taken based on the greater good of the village. Everyone is expected to respect and honor the final decision of the committee.

The houses are compact with open space in front of their houses. Each house has a drawing room, hall, kitchen, puja room and a small attic connected to the ground floor by a wooden ladder. Every house normally has an extended structure in the front for seating visitors and a wooden granary for storing grains. This is in the shape of a rectangle and sometimes it is used as a cot too. The house is equipped with permanently fixed mortar and pestle and grinding stones separately for dry and wet grinding.



Festivals


The annual godly festival (mariabba& hethaiabba) is very important as this festival is meant especially for their beloved daughters. This is a chance for the parents to see and honor their daughters who are married and are located elsewhere. When the daughter enjoys the festivity and leaves for her in-laws home which is now hers too, the parents send her back with all the home made goodies, a new sari and some money. It is a tradition that has been handed down for many generations.
This habba is an unspoken testimony for the bonds that run deep within the community. Strangers and relatives are treated alike with respect and love. Being a daughter born into a huge family, this festival is very close to my heart. As I see my parents that day every year awaiting my arrival along with my family, I know what it is to be special. May the great Mariamma bless all of us for a clear mind and a open heart and many more such happy occasions.


Food and Dress


The dress code:
All the women wear white cloth(mundu) over their saris and all the men are expected to wear crisp white shirts and dhotis on important occasions or visits to the temple. It is a sight to behold as the entire village turns into a sea of white.

Delicacy:

A variety of delicacies are prepared during festivals, the main item being thuppathitu (something like puri but sweet and yummy). In the vegetarian dishes, beans curry holds a special place. In the non-veg section chicken is consumed vastly.



UNESCO has acknowledged that Badagas are the best people known for their hospitality.

 Dance



This is an integral part of all the festivals. Youngsters and elders all shake a leg to the traditional drum beat. The teenagers are the most excited lot willing to show off their traditional dance with a new twist. It is a miracle that even a baby can dance to the beat and tune just by observing the crowd and without anybody actually teaching him or her.



Ittu Ceremony


For the first pregnancy during the seventh month the bride's family goes to the bridegrooms house with their close relatives. There they prepare a feast for groom's family as a gesture of good relations between both families. And then they take the bride to the maternal home for the delivery. After nearly one month, all the relatives of the bride and groom come to the bride's maternal house to prepare a veg or non-veg feast for the new mother-to-be. This is done as a good will initiative.

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