The beauty about Badaga community is not only the unique customs specific to the community but the steadfast belief with which atleast some of them are followed by Badagas with fervour. One of them is the loud chanting of ‘Athikkodhu – LOUDLY saying of EAY AH HOW – on certain but specific occasions. It is said that in earlier days [hundred of years back], when the Badaga villages [hattis] were separated by thick jungle forests , ‘athikkindu Hoppadhu ‘ – traversing the forest with loud athikkodhu chant – kept the wild animals away.
Three occasions come to mind immediately,
1) During “Hethay Habba’ – both when from every village the devotees go to Hethay temples at Beragani and Peddhuva as well as when the Hethay deity is taken to ‘Madi Halla -river’ for change into new dress once a year [and also whenever a hatti temple deity is taken on procession during habbas in hattis],
2) During weddings when the bride and groom are brought to the ‘Madhuvay Mane – wedding house,and the newly weds are taken to the temple and
3) On funerals when the widow is brought for ‘olay Kattodhu’ and the ‘akki eththuva ‘ procession starts from the ‘dhodda Mane’ to ‘saavu hanay ‘ where the corpse/body is kept before being taken for burial.
This loud ‘chanting /cry’ is made from the bottom of the stomach by a few leading the procession and repeated by the rest following them.
I have given the ‘live’ recordings of this unique chanting (recorded during a wedding [the band playing in the background] at Thambatty
at a funeral at Kundhey Ketchigatty)