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Of rituals and strong belief

Sheni Uzo is a unique ritual that is followed in Molcornem, Quepem on the first full-moon night after Shigmo begins. The original inhabitants of the village, the gaonkars carry out this annual ritual that begins late at night near the Mallikarjun temple.

Betel nut tree trunks (maadi) from select plantations are carried around the Mallikarjun temple by about fifty men from the village. The ritual involves hitting lit cow dung cakes known as ‘sheni’ against a bunch of leaves, which causes a shower of sparks (uzo). The men proceed to perform a fire dance, after which they climb the tree trunks, while sheni embers are flung on to their backs.

The villagers proudly endure the sparks as it is considered to be auspicious. It is believed that no harm will happen to those who haven’t committed any sin in the year that has gone by.

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