Bawdy abuses filled the air across villages of South Kodagu as ‘Kunde Habba’, a unique tribal festival kickstarted on Wednesday. An annual festival of Kuruba community of Kodagu, the fiesta is celebrated across villages of Thithimathi, Balele, Balegundi, Maldare and many others. The highlight of this festival is participants hurling vulgar abuses and collecting alms.
“The annual festival is celebrated from May 22 to 24. The final ceremony will be held at Bhadrakali Temple in Devara Kadu (sacred grove) at Thithimathi. It is an ancestral ritual celebrated by the Kurubas,” Bacharaniyanda Appanna, a historian, said.
“The festival is called Kunde Habba as people hurl abuses in abundance. They are abusing and describing their Goddess Bhadrakali. People used to pray for protection of sacred groves and in return held an annual pompous celebration, thanking the deities – Bhadrakali and Aiyappa. The Kurubas believe that abusing the goddess will please her,” Appanna added.
Smeared in mud and cross-dressed, people visit houses in the village, collecting alms. While rice, hens and money were earlier collected as alms, collecting money is the basic ritual now. “Half the money collected goes into buying alcohol and the rest goes to the temple collection box. The bigger hens that are received are sacrificed and later feasted upon at the temple and smaller chickens are taken home and reared,” Appanna said.