© 2023 Dr. M. Sheppard

Special Tovils Baby Tovil Fishermen's Tovil Bali Tovil Family Tovil Sesanthi Pujah

Family Tovil

This type of Tovil is usually limited just to close family and maybe near neighbours. Usually only one Tovil Dancer with perhaps one helper performs this type of Tovil.

This ceremony commenced at about 9 p.m. and lasted all through the night.

Outside the family home coconut structures had been erected. These had little lamps inside and the Tovil dancer was intoning to call the demons. Periodically he blew on his pipe to call them. Then he stopped and there was a meal break. Everyone entered the house..

The family – the husband is a civil servant, his wife and 3 daughters aged 17,12 and 7,  had been troubled by ghosts. This Family Tovil was to find out what exactly it was and to hopefully cure the problem without recourse to a bigger Tovil where Mahasona and the Sannis would be summoned and dance.

There were about 20 present - family and close neighbours). The main Tovil dancer had another Tovil Dancer to assist him in the ceremonies that were to be  performed.

Family and neighbours sharing the communal meal eaten at about 9pm.

After everyone had eaten the specially cooked meal, the 5 offering baskets were placed on chairs in front of a mat. Food was dished into each of these as well. Then the family sat on the mat. Dummala was smoked under each offering basket and the Tovil dancer intoned the special song for each calling each demon in turn. These songs related the history of each demon - the history of how they each became a demon.

The baskets from left to right in front of the family were for:

Kaluyaka, Ridiyaka, Siriyaka, Mahansona and Sunianyaka. Suninyaka's basket was more elaborate than the others.

Torches were lit and the family  was seated behind the white sheet held in place by members of the audience.The offering baskets  and  the whole area  was "smoked" by dummala to call the demons, and the Tovil dancer  started chanting. He continued chanting and then threw fire. At this point the sheet was dropped. The family each made offerings into the baskets whilst the chanting continued,

At intervals, the Tovil dancer  blew on his pipe to call the Yakkas (demons).

,Then the Tovil dancer took up the Igaba and started a new chant  At this point only the husband was sitting on the mat

The chanting continued. The husband made offerings into one of the offering baskets. Another offering basket was then carried outside.

By now it was late and at least the younger members of the audience were dozing. During the night there were various breaks for tea.

At all times a member of the family took it in turns to sit on the mat whilst the others rested. The tovil dancer would during his intonations, touch them with his igaba (wand) drawing out the yakka (demons). One of the audience would be sitting nearby and periodically called out Ayboan - long life.