This post has been self-published on Youth Ki Awaaz by Khumtia Debbarma | Adivasi Awaaz Creator. Just like them, anyone can publish on Youth Ki Awaaz.

This Is How Tribals In Tripura Celebrate Goria Puja To Worship Their Most Important Deity

More from Khumtia Debbarma | Adivasi Awaaz Creator

Translated from Kokborok by Manisha Debbarma

Goria is the most important deity of the Borok people of Tripura. Every year, different communities celebrate the Goria festival to offer prayers to him. Every village/community has their own rituals for the puja. The date of the puja is calculated based on the Bengali calendar and is held on the 7th of Baisakh month. In English, the day usually falls on April 20th.

The preparation of the puja involves clearing the courtyard and decorating a section of it with bamboo, flowers, and banana leaves. The middle bamboo embodies Baba Goria

The Day Of The Goria Puja

In our village, on this day, our households erupt in a flurry of activities to make sure all rituals are properly followed. In the morning the courtyard is swept, washed and a small portion is earmarked as the seat of the deity. Next, the family arranges for homemade popcorn rice, a fresh piece of cloth, risha or rignai (handwoven patterned cloth), banana leaves, flowers, and bamboo.

Money is tied in a piece of cloth

Two priests, the “Boruwa Okra” or “Head Priest” and his assistant “Boruwa Kusu” or “Younger priest” then come to the house and drive in 3 pieces of bamboo into the ground, each about 1.5 feet in length. He then takes a thin bamboo, ties some money on it with the help of a piece of cloth, and then places the bamboo in the hollow of the middle bamboo. This middle bamboo represents Baba Goria to whom prayers and offerings are made.

The Head Priest tells me about the puja, “The arrangement of the prayers is made by the head priest. He decorates the deity’s seat and places all the items on banana leaves. Here, you can see that we have placed homemade popcorn rice, and holy water on the left-hand side and on the right-hand side we have placed wathwi (a variety of bamboo). Once the special area is ready, we light up candles and incense sticks.”

“Once all the requirements for puja are put into place, the priest will start offering prayers alongside the members of the household. The puja is meant to seek blessings for the family. We refer to Goria as our father or Baba as he is our greatest god.”

Candles and incense are placed before the deity

The Puja

The prayers begin with the chanting of a traditional prayer by the priest. This ritual, known as “Pait”, involves placing two slices of banana leaves before the deity. One leaf is placed facing up, and the other is placed face down. The priest then sprinkles holy water on the leaves to purify them and lights candles and incense sticks. He then offers prasadand water to the deity.

After offering prayers, the puja is deemed complete. The family then asks the priest to forecast their horoscope for the year which the priest promptly does. This is called “sema swngmwng”. The family thanks the priest, who then visits the next family to repeat the procedure. This way, he will visit every family in the village and conduct the rituals.


Celebration Through Song And Dance

Once the puja is completed, it is now time for the members of the family to celebrate the day with song and dance. A troupe called Goria Borrwnai, consisting of singers and dancers visit the households and give performances. They beat drums, sing songs, and dance to it. The atmosphere becomes gay and musical.

One of the songs played is called “Balerobalobalo”. In this song, the singers plead to Baba Goria to visit them again next year. People from the village join the procession and start singing along. This is how we spend the day feasting and making merry. When our procession enters a household, the family members offer us uncooked rice which we carry away with us.

This bornama(enjoying dancing and collecting rice after the end of Goria Puja) is done to ensure the well-being of the villagers. It’s been followed for hundreds of years ever since Borok people began to worship Baba Goria.

The Procession

The procession is divided into two sections of people- the Goria borrnairog (the singers/dancers) and Goriasenkaru (the people who later on take Baba Goria for immersion in the river). When the procession enters a courtyard, there is a practised exchange that takes place between the troupe and the house owners. The Goria borrnairog will repeatedly ask the question, “What is there in the house?” The homeowners will reply that there are no valuable things here.

In return, the Goria borrnairog will bless the family and pray that the house is filled with plenty of rice, gold, and silver.

Villagers worshiping by breaking eggs

In some families, people offer eggs as offerings to Baba Garia. Baruwa Okra explains, “They offer one egg for every member of the family. They then pray to God for blessings. After the prayers are done, the eggs are broken one by one.”

The Immersion

The last ritual of the Goria puja is the immersion of the bamboo emblems. The bamboo and the leaves used during the puja are collected and carried by the Goria Sengkaru—people who are chosen to do this ritual. The Goria Sengkaru has to carry the emblems without showing them to anyone else in the village. They are then immersed in the lakes or rivers close to the village.
This is a time of celebration and happiness in Tripura’s tribal villages. If you happen to be in Tripura during this time, do join in us celebrating and worshipping Baba Goria.

Note: This article is created as a part of the Adivasi Awaaz project, with the support of Misereor and Prayog Samaj Sevi Sanstha.

You must be to comment.

More from Khumtia Debbarma | Adivasi Awaaz Creator

Similar Posts

By Khumtia Debbarma | Adivasi Awaaz Creator

By Varsha Pulast | Adivasi Awaaz Creator

By Varsha Pulast | Adivasi Awaaz Creator

Wondering what to write about?

Here are some topics to get you started

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

Read more about his campaign.

Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Read more about her campaign. 

A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

A native of Bhagalpur district – Bihar, Shalini Jha believes in equal rights for all genders and wants to work for a gender-equal and just society. In the past she’s had a year-long association as a community leader with Haiyya: Organise for Action’s Health Over Stigma campaign. She’s pursuing a Master’s in Literature with Ambedkar University, Delhi and as an MHM Fellow with YKA, recently launched ‘Project अल्हड़ (Alharh)’.

She says, “Bihar is ranked the lowest in India’s SDG Index 2019 for India. Hygienic and comfortable menstruation is a basic human right and sustainable development cannot be ensured if menstruators are deprived of their basic rights.” Project अल्हड़ (Alharh) aims to create a robust sensitised community in Bhagalpur to collectively spread awareness, break the taboo, debunk myths and initiate fearless conversations around menstruation. The campaign aims to reach at least 6000 adolescent girls from government and private schools in Baghalpur district in 2020.

Read more about the campaign here.

A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

The Transmen-ses campaign aims to tackle the issue of silence and disregard for trans men’s menstruation needs, by mobilising gender sensitive health professionals and gender neutral restrooms in Lucknow.

Read more about the campaign here.

A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

Share your details to download the report.









We promise not to spam or send irrelevant information.

A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

A Gender Rights Activist working with the tribal and marginalized communities in india, Srilekha is a PhD scholar working on understanding body and sexuality among tribal girls, to fill the gaps in research around indigenous women and their stories. Srilekha has worked extensively at the grassroots level with community based organisations, through several advocacy initiatives around Gender, Mental Health, Menstrual Hygiene and Sexual and Reproductive Health Rights (SRHR) for the indigenous in Jharkhand, over the last 6 years.

Srilekha has also contributed to sustainable livelihood projects and legal aid programs for survivors of sex trafficking. She has been conducting research based programs on maternal health, mental health, gender based violence, sex and sexuality. Her interest lies in conducting workshops for young people on life skills, feminism, gender and sexuality, trauma, resilience and interpersonal relationships.

A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
biodegradable sanitary pad vending machines in all government schools across the state. Her petition on Change.org has already gathered support from over 90000 people and continues to grow.

Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

Sign up for the Youth Ki Awaaz Prime Ministerial Brief below