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Dances Evening Watch Midnight Watch Morning Watch Patient Dancing Fire Dance Finale

Offering Baskets

From  the patient’s left to right, these Offering Baskets are known as:

1 Mal Bulat - for Buddha and the Guardian Deities - it contains flowers (mal) and bulat leaves and  a small clay pot of purified water mixed with tumeric, some areca flowers and a small lighted torch. This Offering Basket remains near the Patient throughout the ceremony as protection from demons. The water is used to purify the area and also sprinkled on the Patient or dancers to bring them out of entrancement during the ceremony.

The other four baskets are for the demons:

2 Kalu Yaka - this has  five sections representing his five different forms. The offerings in this basket should consist of husked rice and seven different kinds of pure vegetables, five kinds of roasted grains, five kinds of sweetmeats mixed up with five colours and oil, nine flowers, bulat and sandalwood paste. These are “high status” offerings as Kalu Yaka has a “higher status” than the other demons. There is also a small lighted torch.

3 Riri Yaka - this has four sections representing him and his three assistants. The offerings are more or less the same as Kalu Yaka’s with the addition of impure items liked by demons - roasted meats from land and water creatures and drops of blood from the comb of a cock.

4 Suniyam Yaka - his basket has two levels. In the centre is a hollowed banana trunk in which is placed similar offerings as for Riri Yaka without the roasted meats and blood. These offerings are for Suniyam and his wives. The  offerings are also placed in the nine divisions in the basket. These divisions represent the nine planets.

5 Mahasona - This basket has eight sections representing the eight forms in which Mahasona is reputed to appear. This basket also has a raised section on which there is a half coconut shell  into which the offerings are placed. The offerings are the same as for Riri Yaka. The coconut represents a skull.

Mal bulat - For Lord Buddha & Guardian Deities. This basket  remains near the Patient throughout the ceremony as a protection against the demons.

Offering Baskets  for demons used in a Mat Dance

Adding the appropriate offerings during a ceremony, under the direction of Edura (Healer)

Smoking with dummala to attract demons to their offerings.

Patient making offerings

General Lay-out - At the start of ceremonies to exorcise the effects of attack from demons from the Patients, typically five Offering Baskets are placed on chairs before the patient. In order for the ceremony to be successful, it is very important that these are precisely constructed and the correct offerings are placed inside them . (However it should be noted that constructions vary between Tovil dance groups.) During the ceremony, these will be removed in turn to the shrines for demons such as Demon Palace (in background). These baskets are all specially constructed for each ceremony by the Tovil Dancers

Patient placing offerings during a Mahasona 18 Sanni Dance Ceremony

Details of this basket - left picture shows top, and right shows lower part

Examples of Offering Baskets

Tovil Dancer placing Offering Basket in Shrine for Demons

Assistant lifting Offering Basket with its offerings into one of demon structures

Final “Sanni Demon” (dis-maksed) taking away Offering Basket for demons at end of Morning Watch Dances.

Patient placing limes for “lime-cutting” into final Morning Watch Sanni Dance

Mal Bulat Offering Basket - Igaba is leaning against the chair

Edura beside Offering Basket - during a Mahasona 18 Sanni Ceremony - Patient to left