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The Hos prepare a coffin for the dead which they call kāndukid. Sometimes it is prepared after the death has actually occurred, and sometimes before death, at the request of the dying man. Frequently old men have their coffins made, even when there is no sign of any illness. In order to make a coffin, a living tree is cut down, and four planks are sawn out of its trunk. The plank which is fixed at the bottom of the coffin is called Giniti. The plank which is meant for the lid or the cover is called Hānārup. The remaining two are fixed lengthwise and are called jānor. Then rem in to be prepared a horse's head and a horse's tail, which go by the name of Ardāru, out of the stump of the tree. These two are fixed at the two ends, of the coffin. Perhaps this is the reason why the Hos take the horse to be a beast of ill omen.


The corpse is allowed to remain in the house until the coffin is ready. The face is clean shaven and the forehead is painted with alternate dot marks of vermilion and rice flour diluted in water. It is then placed carefully in the coffin with its head towards the horse's head. All the clothes of the deceased, together with some rice and copper coins, and sometime even silver ones are placed in the coffin which is then closed and carried by the relatives of the deceased to the burning place-generally an open plot of ground within the village boundary. Logs of wood already gathered are heaped to form a low platform on the centre of which is placed the coffin with the head towards the south.

More wood is piled over the cofin, to thoroughly cover it, and fire is then applied by two poor wonen hired for the purpose. One of them stands to the east of the pile and the other to the west, each with a kia lled log of wool in her hand. The woman stan ling on the east side goes round to the west of the pile and applies her kindled log. The woman standing on the west goes round to the east and does the same. not take fire, it is believed that the soul of the deceased is reluctant to have its former bo ly burn, on account of the affection which it bears to some particular member of the family.

If the pile does

Then all the family members go round the pile weeping. Those to whom the deceased was much attached, wash their faces with water and sprinkle it on the pile, which it is said, then at once takes fire.

The dead are cremated at night and the funeral pile is allowed to burn until next morning, when the fire is extinguished by sprinkling water on it with twigs of a peepul tree.

The bones are then picked out from the ashes, and placed on a winnowing fan. After they are dried till noon on a piece of new cloth spread over a string-bedstead, the ashes are buried and the place where the corpse was burnt is cleansed and besmeared with cowdung diluted in water. After the bones are dry, they are kept in a new earthen pitcher and covered with leaves of the Otrong plant. Another new and empty earthen vessel is similarly covered and within it the disembodied spirit of the deceased is supposed to reside. This empty vessel is addressed thus: "You have been taken away by your God and are isolated from us up till now. We shall take you home on the third day." After having consoled the departed spirit thus, the funeral party bury this empty vessel under the earth and carry the vessel of bones to the house of the deceased and hang it from the thatch of the hut.

The party now go to a neighbouring stream or pool, anoint their limbs with turmeric and oil, and take a purificatory bath. This bath is called Bisiākānābu which literally means, we touched the corpse and therefore we bathe. After the bath, the party take boiled rice and rice-beer at the house of the deceased, sit there for some time, consoling the bereaved family and then return home.


On the third night after the death, a ceremony called Rā-ā-nadār takes place in the room where the family deity of the deceased resides. Ashes are spread on the floor of this room. A male member (of the family, either the brother or the father, takes his seat in one corner of the room, and a female member, either the sister or the widow of the deceased, sits' in another corner.

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The door of the room is carefully shut from within. Now, from the place where the dead body was burnt, two men proceed towards the door of the room. One of them comes sprinkling water and scattering boiled rice and the other follows him striking a spade against a ploughshare and thus producing a tinkling sound. On reaching the door of the room they ask, "Sukuila ki Dukuila?" (Entered or not entered). The woman sitting in one corner of the room, at once lights a lamp already kept ready before her and examines the ashes on the floor, in order to discover the footprints of any creature whose entrance into the room has been expected. If she finds the footprints of a bird, it is at once believed that the deceased has been re-born as a bird; if the footprints of a particular animal is found, then it is believed that the deceased in his next birth has become such an animal; and if the footprint of a human being is discovered on the ashes, it is determined that the deceased is re-born as a human being.

If the woman, sitting in the corner, on being asked if the spirit of the deceased has entered or not, replies "Sukuila" (not entered), then the man, sitting in another corner of the room, would forthwith begin offering a sacrifice to the presiding deity, and the two men outside will again go back to the burning place, and the same process is repeated until some sign signifiying the entrance of some creature into the room is traced.

Huring Sibi.

The next day takes place the ceremony called Huring Sibi, the relatives of the deceased shave their beards with a razor, have their hair cut and nails pared. It may be noted here that the razors which the Hos use, are generally manufactured by themselves in their own villages. I have examined one such razor, and I may say that it produces a painful sensation during shaving. The Hos never engage barbers or washermeu except as a recent innovation near Chaibassa.

The ceremony called Marang Sibi takes place the day following. The relatives of the deceased wash Marang Sibi. all their clothes and take a purificatory bath, after which they are readmitted into the society.

Jang-topam, or the burying of bones, takes place either on the fourth day after the Ra-a-nadar, or a year Jang-topām. or two afterwards, as it suits the convenience of the members of the deceased's family.

Another ceremony called Jang-asan (carrying the bones) just precedes Jang-topām. One of the two women who set fire to the pyre, takes out the bones from the earthen vessel that was kept hanging from the roof, puts them on a bamboo-tray decorated with artificial flowers made of Shola (cork) and carries this tray on her head. The other woman usually carries an empty water pot. A third woman carries on her head a bamboo at the two ends of which are fastened two bells. These three women followed by a number of drummers, and the relatives and the neighbours of the deceased, start from the deceased's house in a long procession. The drums at once begin to sound :

Topām, topām, topām, 10pām, Jāng-topām. which literlaly means

"We'll bury, we'll bury, we'll bury, bones we'll bury."

The three women dance a mourning dance and the men nod their heads to the beating of the drums. In this way the procession solemnly advances through the village and stops at the door of every relative who comes out of his house weeping and offer some quantity of rice to the deceased. If the deceased has relatives living in villages, the procession must visit those villages also. If the number of such villages be large, the party visits as many of them as possible up to the evening, and then stops for the night. The solemn dancing march begins again next day, and it continues until the bones are carried to the doors of the rest of the relatives.

After the Jang-āsān is over, the procession returns to the burial-place which is usually fixed within the village, and even within the boundary of homestead lands. The day before the iängtopān, a grave has been dug four feet deep, four feet in length, and the same in breadth, so that the bones may rest safely within it. The hollow thus made already in the

The Burialplace.

ground is besmeared with cowdug and sanctified rice, collected during the bone-carrying is first put into it together with any ornaments of the deceased that remained unburnt at the cremation. The bones are next taken out of the bamboo-tray and placed in a new and entirely red earthenware jar. This jar is then painted with a paste of rice flour and covered with a piece of red cloth, after which it is placed in the grave. A quantity of stale rice from which beer is prepared, is put just besides the jar. The grave is then filled in and a big slab of stone is placed. over it. Four pieces of small stones also are put under the slab as supports, at the four corners of the grave.

At the time of internment, the Hos fire guns, the reports of which announce to the public the entrance of the relics of the deceased to their last resting place.

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