'HETHAI HABBA' is the biggest festival of Badagas
Dedicated to the memory of the Great Badaga Leader Rao Bahadur H B Ari Gowder
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Hethai Habba is always on the first MONDAY (SOVARA), the most sacred day of Badagas, after the full moon (paurnami - HUNNAWAY ) that falls in (Tamil) Margazhi month, that is the 9th day after eight days of ‘Kolu’. This year the Hethai Habba was celebrated on 8 Jan 2007 .
It is not fixed on a particular day like say X-Mas which is always on the 25th December of every year & hence the Hethai Habba day with referrence to English Calender changes every year.
Every year, from various hattis the male members in their traditional dress [white turban - MANDARE, MUNDU & Badagaru SEELE along with the family DHADI (stick)- see the photo] proceed to Hethai Gudi (mane) in Beragani on thr preceeding FRIDAY by foot. Every house in the hatti has to pay five HANA (25paise coin) in a ceremonial function called HANA KATTODU in the village Hethai Gudi ( also known as SUTHUKAL - a stone under a Bikke mora tree that is worshipped - see the photos below). This money (coins) - KANNIKE - tied in a white cloth will be handed over to the Hethai temple at Beragani.
R. Ramachandran of Kekkatti gives an interesting tit bit : ‘The Hethai Dhadi, considered very sacred, is always kept in the sacred corner called HAGOTTU, which is situated in the OGA MANE [inner room where the kitchen is located] adjoining EDA MANE.
In the olden days the diary products where stored here. It has the churing stick or the MATTHU which is attached to a pole firmly buried to the ground. This was used for churning milk and only the men had the rights to enter this place. The diary products were stored in THATTAE (mud pots) inside the HAGOTTU. Since Hagottu is treated as sacred, it is smeared with cowdung every Mondays with water gathered from springs (HUTTU NEERU) only.
The HETTHAI DHADHI is kept in the HAGOTTU inside a bamboo that has been bored along its length so that the DHADHI can fit in. The DHADHI is taken out once a year and cleaned with salt & tamarind and then taken to the HETHAI MANE during the festival and kept back in its place as soon as the festival is over. Any outside materials that are taken into the HAGOTTU are ’purified’ by applying camphor vapour (KAPPARANA AATHODHU)).
Here, mention must be made about HONE used for milking of buffaloes (nowadays vessels or buckets are used). This container/sort of vessel is a broad hollow bamboo mearuing about 2 feet in length with the lower end closed. Ladies during their periods are not allowed into the room that holds the HAGOTTU. Ladies also, usually, do not eat inside the OGAMANAE where the HAGOTTU is present’.
In olden days, every household had a Hethai Dhadi of its own. Prof.Paul Hockings mentions that HAGOTU is the milk churning place, adjoining kitchen, inside the house - a place of worship, into which the women are not allowed to enter. But Dodda Mane in a hatti must have a Hogotu and if it is absent, the front portion of the kitchen is still considered sacred and for men only. Also called OGASU by Lingayat and Haruva Badagas.
There is a DHODDARU SHULOKA [Badaga proverb] which says,
’sappode sare, hagotu dura’ meaning
‘The milk vessel is nearby, but the churning place is far off’
The villagers give a warm and respectful send off to those proceeding to Hethai Mane (- they would have followed a very strict code of conduct like not eating non vegetarian food or consuming alcohol). As they (including many young boys) proceed away from the village, women spread white sheets (mundus) on the path and all those (men, women & children) not proceeding will prostrate ( adda bubbadu ) and they will be blessed ( harachodu ) by those ‘hethai kararu’. The unique ,Badaga ATHIKKODU - ” Ye Ha Ho ” will be loudly uttered.
As you listen to this ‘ Ye Ha Ho ‘ you can feel goose pimples rising, eyes welling up with tears and the heart filled with thoughts of the ALL POWERFUL HETHAI with both happiness and awe.
They will attend to many ceremonies & functions at Hethai Mane - Beraganni /Pedduva/Gasu Gui .
These men will return back to their Villages on the next monday - THE HETHAI HABBA DAY - to a grand and ceremonial welcome. Usually there will be ‘ Anna Dhana ‘ at their villages.
Every BADAGA (male & female) must visit Hethai Mane gudi (temple) either at Beragani or Pedduva at least once to have an unique experience and get the blessings of HETHAI during this fantastic festival called Hethi Habba.
The visit can be on any day during the ‘kolu’ period when lakhs of Badagas in their whites, throng these holy places and their cars and other vehicles would have been parked for a few kms on the all available roads. There are many more thousands of non Badaga devotees also.
EVERYONE WILL BE SERVED FOOD ( HITTU ).
This is the only day the deity - HETHAI - will be shown to the public for a few seconds.
I have added a few photos taken at Pedduva Hatti quite some years back from my archive. The photos of Hubbathalai Hethai Gudi ‘Suthu Kallu’ and the present ‘Head Pujari’ of Beraganni were taken a few days back (December, 2006) when Hetha Mane people were invited to Hubbathalai Village prior to the forth coming Hethai Habba as is the tradition. More on this ‘ritual/function’ called “Hethai Mane Kararuga Hittu Hakkuvadu” later.
On Hethai Habba day at Pedduva
The following snaps were taken at Hubbathalai Village on 15 Dec 2006
My favourite ‘HETHE’ songs which can soothen the senses and bring happiness are……
If you want to listen to more ” Hethe ” songs go to badaga.orgRead the 'history of HETHAI AMMA' here