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Sequence of gotr

Although the decision to hold a gotr is made back in November (diali), the ritual never actually takes place until February (mag), when weddings are also usually celebrated. Pfeffer concentrates primarily on the ritual’s four-day central core, with the following highpoints with regard to the ritual activities:

  • - On the first day, the transfer of the duma into the buffaloes.
  • - On the second day, the arrival of the stone slabs or menhirs.
  • - On the third day, the violent phase and the giving away of the buffaloes.
  • - On the fourth day, joking interactions between the affinal groups (Pfeffer 1991, 83).

The First Day: Transfer of the duma

Before gotr begins, the duma are banished by the dissari, who buries medicine in and around the village, and simli trees are set up for the buffaloes in the areas occupied by each of the local lines (kuda) and sub-lines (kutum). Stone platforms are already found in the different parts of the village from previous gotr. Individual sub-lines also have such stone constructions, alongside a joint platform within the village for each local line (gotr munda). The buffalo tied up first is called kutti bongtel* and is reserved for a duma deserving particular honor.

The last one tied up is the rau bongtel*, which will be sacrificed to the demon later and is assigned to a less honorable person (Pfeffer 1991, 75f).

On the first day, the duma are transferred into the bodies of the buffaloes by feeding the buffaloes cooked rice after a sacrifice and calling out the names of the deceased (Pfeffer 1991,76).[1] The dead have now been resurrected. As Iziko- witz also described, the buffaloes are led back and forth between the different platforms inside the village and are fed by the sponsors. The first guests are affinal relatives, who bring cattle, along with other gifts; they also feed the buffaloes and will assist the sponsors as helpers and witnesses during the ritual’s subsequent phases.

  • [1] In his 2001 (a) article, Pfeffer (2001a, 109, 111) reports the observation that the duma aretransferred into the buffaloes at the cremation site, where they were previously banished.
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