Clifford Geertz, 1973 has defined religion as “a system of symbols which act to established powerful pervasive and long lasting moods and motivation in main by formulating conception of a general order of existence and clothing these conception with such an Aura a faculty that the moods and motivation seems uniquely realistic”(Geetz, 1973;90).
Study conducted in Sillary Gaon, West Bengal, observations made on the major rituals practiced by the residence on a number of subject viz. the character of performance the time perspective and the place of performance. The following are the ritual performances found in Sillary Gaon village. This village is a multiethnic community village and the villagers follow Nepali calendar. These performances can be further classified into household and community perspective they generally practice ritual practices daily, weekly and seasonal at the household level and seasonal at the community level.
RAM NAVAMI AND DASAMI/KHEPA-SUNG PUJA
In the month of Baishak this puja is celebrated by villagers. In this puja Ancestral persons are their deity, they call them ‘pubach’. This activity is performed by the head of the family. The main purpose is to decline negativity upon the family and to make their family healthy and wealthy. They offer their deity a statue made up of rice, one Kung a type of candle stand, one bottle bear and one glass milk. They decorate the place of puja with flower, garlands and vermillion. Their home is the place of worship.
In the month of sawan this puja is celebrated, on the first day of this month. This day is also the first day of Nepali calendar. In this puja ‘Rake-bhut’ is their deity. This activity is performed by all family members. The main purpose is for disposition of ghost. They offer their deity one kg rice with two chickens and placed it on their land (zameen) or road. Land is their place of worship.
In the month of vadhu this puja is celebrated. In this puja Lord Krishna is their deity. This puja is performed by Priest, they call them as ‘boon’. The main purpose of this puja is to celebrate the birthday of Lord Krishna. They believe that Lord Krishna took birth from cucumber or ‘kakri’, due to this reason they used to break cucumber at 12am midnight for celebrating Lord Krishna’s birthday. They also believe Lord Krishna took birth a midnight. They offer their deity cucumber (kakri), khir a mixture of milk, rice and sugar and boiled those, fruits, milk, ghee etc. Their home is the place of worship.
In the month of karthik this puja is celebrated. In this puja Goddess Durga is their deity. Priest (Boon) is the performer of this puja. The main purpose of this puja is for the betterment of everyone that is their family, villagers and tourism their business. They offer their deity 250 objects related to the worship. They decorate 9 stairs of wood by wheat (atta). Whole day they have fast. Mandap is their place of worship. They decorate that area with flowers. Mandap is built in the community hall at village playground.
LAXMI PUJA AND DIWALI
In the month of karthik after 15days from Durga puja, Laxmi puja and Diwali is celebrated. Goddess Laxmi is deity of this puja. This puja is performed by the head of the family. The purpose of this puja is wealth and prosperity of the family. They offer their deity house hold utensils, gold, silver, money (taka). Their home is the place of worship. They decorate their house with garland.
In the month of karthik this puja is celebrated. In this puja Goddess Durga is the deity. This puja is performed by any female member of the by their own. The purpose to perform this puja is for a wealthy and healthy family. They offer deity incense stick, Kung, sweets and flower. For entire nine days they maintain fasting. They don’t take even a drop of water but they take milk, horlicks and fruits at a certain time of the day. Their home is the place of worship.
In the month of karthik this puja is celebrated. In this puja Lord Rama is the deity. This puja is performed by the family members by own. The purpose to perform this puja is for disposition of negativity from the family. They offer the deity incense stick, Kung, milk and fruits. Their home or the ground is the place of worship.
In the month of Magh this event is practiced or celebrated. Magh Sankranti is celebrated after three months of Laxmi puja or Diwali. In this puja river is their deity. This puja is performed by the family members. The purpose of this practice is for mankind and for the wealth of the family. In practice performer devoted chicken, flower, Kung and pigeon to the deity. At the time of dawn they took bath in that river, this ritual is known as ‘Makar Nuhana’. They believe that if they took bath in the river at dawn then they may suppose to get chance to see Lord Shiva “Sibaji”. Kalimpong rally and Teesta River is their place of worship.
In the month of Fagun this event is celebrated. In this event Lord Buddha is the deity. The practice is performed by the Lama. The purpose of this practice is for betterment and wealth of the family. They offer their deity incense stick, kung and flower. Their home or the monastery is the place of worship.
In the month of Push this event is celebrated. In this event Lord Jesus Christ is the deity. The practice is performed by the Father or any family member. The purpose of this practice is to celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ. They offer their deity candles, chocolates, cake, cookies etc. Their home or the church is the place of worship.
HINDU RITUALS REGARDING SUPERNATURALISM
In this village ancestral worship is practiced. They use to keep the pind of their ancestor (kul) in a metal vessel (kalash) containing human burned that is ash remain after funeral. They keep this vessel in a hidden area of their house where they don’t allow any outsider. To worship the vessel they use incense stick. After any marriage the new couple mainly son and son’s wife enters the house, they were taken to that hidden area to take blessing from their ancestors.