Origin of Munda Tribe
Munda tribes are one of the largest tribes of India. The word Munda has an etymological significance. It means headman of a village. They believe that they are the descendants of ‘Sing Bonga’, the supreme God. Main languages spoken by these tribes include 'Munda' or 'Killi', Santali and Mundari. Munda tribes are also called by their alternative name, 'Heriki'. The physical characteristics of the Mundas are the typical Indian tribal personality, with darkish complexion and curly hairs.
Society of Munda Tribe The Munda society is divided into sub groups namely Patar, Mahali, Kampat Munda, etc. A 'Gotiora' is situated in each Munda village and this carries a well adopted habitual culture in training the young men of Munda. Moreover, the society is governed by the 'Panchayat' and there is an 'Akhara' which is the medium of entertainment for the villagers. They built up the Parha system of Government, which is fundamentally a 'confederacy of village governments'. The Munda tribes uphold their tribal identity by barring intermarriage with other tribal communities.
Occupation of Munda Tribe In earlier times the Munda tribes were wandering huntsmen and collectors. Very recently, these Munda tribes too take up the profession of shifting cultivation, thereby following the practice of most of the tribes of Indian subcontinent. Many of these people still depend on labour to earn a livelihood.
Religion of Munda Tribe These Munda tribes are pious and religious minded, mainly practicing Hinduism. Quite a number of people also have retained their traditional practice of Animism. Some are also followers of Christianity. ‘Sarana’ is the place corresponding to a temple in the Munda tribe. ‘Singbonga’ is the supreme God; other ethnocentric deity includes ‘Jahweh’.
Festivals of Munda Tribe Festivals and occasions are a major part of this tribal community. Mage, Phagu, Karam, Sarhul and Sohrai are the few festivals celebrated among the Munda tribes. They perform ‘Nupur’ dance in their festivals and tribal occasions. The specialty of this dance is that the people wear an ornament called ‘Nupur’ which is an anklet and dance in a group.