In Tamilnadu the ‘Maariamman’ is considered as the Godess of Rain and fertility, whereas in Karnataka (including Karavali) 'Maari' is the village Goddess/Deity of misfortunes and epidemics diseases. Hosabettu Viswanath has added some more points below to complement the previous post on the Maarigudis.
It appears that originally the concept of Maari worship was conceived to drive out epidemic diseases. The Maari-pooje is traditionally held in many villages of Karavali usually on a specific day in the following week after the Car festival event of the village Durga temples.
'Maari gidapunu/ derunu', 'maaripuje' in village level (the Maari without having a temple) is a common annual feature in some villages. It is performed under a tree with raised platform around by offering food/animal sacrifice. Similar village cults are reported from Tamilnadu also. It is also likely that the original concept of (driving out the epidemics) is being interpreted in different ways, like addition of concepts of rain and fertility, in these days. The cult of emphasis on rains may have been derived from prevention against the draught situations.
During outbreak of epidemics, to chase out the 'maari' out of village limits such rituals are performed. In the fishing villages, the Bhajana Mandira undertakes singing of bhajans through out the 'Mogaveera pattana',running corner to corner, to chase the 'Maari' out. Such events have played a significant role in providing psychological relief to the people by removing fear.
In the days of 'ramponi' in the fishing colonies of Karavali villages, 'kuttipooje' was performed prior to commencement of fishing season. It is another form of 'maari gidapunu'.
'Maari' also means great, big, terrifying, as in 'maaribale'(=huge fishing net), 'maari barsa' (=intensive rainfall) etc.Usages like 'maari pondu', 'ayik maari baradu' are also in vogue. Worship of mother Maari appears universal and it may have existed in native form even before the arrival of Ikkeri Kings to Tulunad.. However, it was more popularised with the exodus of Konkanis from Konkan to Tulunadu and with the construction of Maari Gudies' during Ikkeri rule.
Arya Samajists in the Karavali,like late Shri Mohanappa Thingalaya, have played a significant role in the beginning of the Twentieth Century in crusading against the cruel practice of animal sacrifice .
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