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    Indian Village Celebrates Unique Cow Dung Splashing Ritual 'Gore Habba' (VIDEO)

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    Some villages in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu continue to have faith in the age-old belief that cow dung is a panacea for many diseases and hence splashing on cow dung once a year keeps them free of health problems. Villagers gather on the day of Gore Habba to collectively engage in the annual ritual.

    New Delhi (Sputnik): October-November is the time for exhilarating Indian festivals which are common to most parts of the vast country. However, there are certain pockets in India that celebrate festivals that are not only exclusive to the area, but also extremely extraordinary and sometimes bizarre.

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    The Kannada-speaking population of the southern state of Tamil Nadu celebrates "Gore Habba," a festival that is marked by slinging of cow-dung on each other in what is considered a cleansing and healing ritual. The festival is exclusive to the Gumatapura and Talavadi villages in the Erode district of Tamil Nadu.

    Although the members of this village are not clear about the origin of the festival, they claim that the tradition began several generations ago. Starting early morning, men, women, and children begin to collect cow dung from all over the village and dump it in a place designated for the ritual.  

    Later, half-naked children go all around the village collecting oil and butter for offering prayers at the temple. Afterward, a procession is carried out. 

    The real fun begins after the prayer congregation when people start picking up the cow dung and splash it on to each other. Every single person in the village is pushed into the pit and smeared with cow dung. Thousands of people from the nearby villages also gather to watch the game. The ritual ends with a dip in the nearby lake. Locals describe the festival as a tool to remind the villagers of harmonious co-existence in society.

    "It's an annual ritual we have been celebrating for many years. I have seen generations of my family taking part in this annual festival. I don't know how this unique festival became part and parcel of our village tradition. But we all celebrate it with enthusiasm. We believe that the cow dung has special healing power. Further, the Gore Habba binds our village folks together," Rajiv Sathyanarayan, a resident of Gumatapur, told Sputnik.

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    cow, tradition, dung, ancient, therapy, India, Tamil Nadu
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