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Tuesday, 6 December 2016
Karthiga Pournami in the village.
This is traditionally the time of the year when the gogu (Hibiscus cannibus) is harvested. The children carry a bundle of lit gogu sticks each, which bun slowly and steadily. They start from the Katava Raja shrine, a small heap of stones painted red and white, and run towards the sheet rock half a kilometer away and back. It is a beautiful sight. At the end of the run all the sticks are placed standing in a pyramid form before the village. The youth race through this pyramid of fire - so fast that they don’t feel the heat of the fire or of the burning coals they tread on!
With changing times, gogu is not grown as in earlier times. This used to be grown for the strong fibres it gave, and the leaves were also cooked and eaten. But extracting the fibre is a time consuming process, and other fibre options are preferred these days. So people have now started carrying lighted coconut fronds but the coconut fronds burn too fast, and embers also fall on the person ahead.
Gogu is one more thing that before our eyes has entered history.