Monday, May 11, 2009

Wanvun - that old chorus song of old ladies

Wanwun, a type of traditional Kashmiri chorus singing, always performed by women - usually old women and usually meant for marriage, religious ceremonies and any other festive occasion.




Don't let anyone say we didn't sing for Matamal, the bride's maternal family. Look we are singing the old songs. He is from the Matamal side. So what did we say! Bless him! May he get his sacred thread soon, may we sing for him. Here comes the bride's mamaji. Sing for him. Singing. These Uncle and Nephew/Niece relations are very delicate. One must have brains. Singing. singing. Singing. Not that passage right now, we haven't reached there yet. Reading (the girl has had her bridal shower on the rock...). singing. Singing.
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Previous evening.
The booklet of Wanwun lyrics costs around Rs.60. The old women talked with respect about women, women, who could still sing these songs from memory. I tried to read. It's Kashmiri written in Devnagri. I couldn't. My grandmother breezed through the text.

4 comments:

  1. hii..
    “Kani- shraan” does not mean shower on the rock.Kani-shraan here refers to the holy bath in which kanik or kanyas(girls) are made to hold the dupatta from its four corners through which water is poured onto the bride/groom. One of the ladies even mentions the line which goes like ‘kani shraan karithi goras nish chaaikhaii’.It refers to the fact that only after finishing the ritual(Kani-shraan) can the bride/groom proceed for devgon pooza.

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  2. Thanks for the great comment!
    I was having wordplay fun...sort of like, the first thing that comes to mind on hearing the word - Kan'ye. I was actually going to write stone-bath :)

    Anyway, I remember reading somewhere that the bath ceremony is supposed to be carried out by five virgin girls - with four of them holding, at its four corners, a dupatta over the would-be-bride's head. The fifth one actually gives the bath by pouring the water.

    These five girls, kanyas are supposed to represent 'Pancha Kanyas' of Hindu lore, the five most virtuous females according to hindus:
    Kunti – The mother of the five Pandava princes, Draupadi - wife of five Pandavas, Mandodari - wife of Ravana, Ahalya - wife of the sage Gautama, and Tara - wife of Bali, the monkey king killed by Rama.

    Not to be confused with five pious Satis, five women who went Sati - in which Kunti is replaced with Sita and rest are the same.

    As the water is pured on the would-be-bride, the four girls holding the cloth are supposed to represent - Dharma, Artha, Kama, Moksha and Bramha.
    You can read some more about Here‘kani shraan karithi goras nish Tchaai'khaii’

    It's the funniest thing:
    Traditionally the girl is supposed to be carried to the hawan kund by her Mamaji(maternal uncle) where the guruji (gor) awaits to start the ceremony. Also, the girl is also not supposed to show her face till she gets there. In older says, people got married really young - 10,11,12... even younger, and the little girl could easily be lifted by her mamaji. But these days, poor old mamajis fret (fret -fret) the thought of having to carrying the big girl. Their lift is now only symbolic.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ohh..i never realised that 'on the rock' thing was written just for fun.Anyways,the info u have provided on the topic is definitely worth knowing.Thanx for sharing.
    You have mentioned above that the fifth girl gives the ritual bath by pouring water.But i' ve never seen the same happening.From wotever I’ve seen so far its the father or the eldest male member of the family(yezman) who pours the water. Plz correct me if i’m wrong.
    when one of my cousins got married his mamaji carried him to hawan kund.when i asked my mom wots goin on she told me it was a ritual.My brother being lean and his mamaji quite young at that time so not a problem.But that was the last time i saw the ritual in its true sense.

    ReplyDelete
  4. But i' ve never seen the same happening.Nice observation! I had the same thought when I read about a fifth girl who gives the bath. It's always the yezman. But, i thought maybe i got it wrong. I just double checked the photographs...again it's the father.

    i don't know, these things can get confusing, maybe earlier there were some more ceremonies that aren't continued anymore. Or may be the ritual varies among families. (That particular site is maintained by Magzines.

    The article also mentions that the water is supposed to have flowers, rice, milk , ghee and Sandal wood in it. And I always thought it was only water. Patanahi!

    ReplyDelete

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