In traditional Tulunadu, the recurrent Spirit worshiping festivals are popularly known and celebrated either as Kola or Nema.
Kola and Nema
The term Kola appears to be a heritage word that has been brought along with early cycles of human immigrants to our land. The ancient word Kola possibly of African origin means an agreement or convention mutually agreed upon.
The term Nema appears to be an equivalent of the word “Niyama” commonly found in many of the Indian languages including Sanskrit. Thus literally the Nema (or Niyama) means a rule or a convention to be followed).
Shri Narayana A. Bangera, Mitrapatna, in a recent discussion with Hosabettu Vishwanath, draw our attention to the essential differences between a Nema and a Kola. Conventionally, there is a fine distinction between a Kola and a Nema celebrations that can be summarized as follows:
In the case of Nema celebrations:
(1) There is hoisting and lowering of ‘koDi’ (=flag) to mark the commencement and culmination of the annual ceremony. This aspect is similar to the convention of flag hoisting and lowering followed up by temples in the region during the annual festivals in the temples.
(2) Besides, there is ‘Bandi-bali’ consisting of circum-ambulation by the impersonator sitting in a decorated wooden car/cart-cum-horses, around the Bhuta Sthana (=Spirit Shrine), the cart being drawn by devotees. In some cases, Bhuta’s mask or idol is seated in the Bandi or the wooden car. Such annual festival is also called as ‘Bandi Nema’.
All other Bhuta festivals are called ‘Kola’.
Parava, Pambada and Rajan daiva
It is customary that only persons from the Parava tribes are only entitled to impersonate a Bhuta, who is considered as reincarnated form of specific God or divinity.
Traditionally the persons from the Pambada tribes are authorized to impersonate or represent only Rajan Daivas. It was considered that a King after death attains divinity and becomes a Rajan daiva or a Royal Spirit.).
- Hosabettu Vishwanath
(Based on inputs given by Narayana A. Bangera on 30.10.2015. We heartily thank NAB for his appreciation and feed-back on differences between a Kola and a Nema.)