Bhumia tribes of Orissa have a rich cultural heritage and are also considered as the most heroic tribal communities. The Bhumia tribes are found in every corner of districts like Koraput, Phulbani, Gangam and Sundergarh. These Bhumia tribes top the list just after the koya tribes in respect of the largest population of tribes of Orissa. Thus for obvious reasons, these Bhumia tribes have drawn the attention of most of the anthropologists of Indian subcontinent.
For better administration and control, these Bhumia tribes have chosen a person as the head of the village. He is popularly known as `Mukhia`. However for every twenty villages, one `Bhattanaik` is being selected. The name of these Bhumia tribes had been written down in the pages of history for their ardent participation and remarkable contribution to the freedom struggle that took place in the district. Laxman Naik, a great freedom fighter, belonged to this Bhumia tribal community.
In the Bhumia society, the institution of marriage has always been held in high esteem. This Bhumia system has got a unique system of marriage. The usual practice prevalent amongst these tribes is the elopement of groom with his prospective bride. Fairs and festivals too are integral part of the whole of the Bhumia society, thus enriching their culture and tradition. Balijatra is their most important festival of these Bhumia tribes and is celebrated with great pompousness.
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