Hovan

--Informant Info--
Nationality: Indian
Age: 21
Occupation: Student
Residence: Los Angeles
Date of Performance/Collection: 4/29/14
Primary Language: English
Other Language(s):

Text:

“There’s a festival we do for new houses. Oh, that’s just… We go in, we set up a fire. The fire just signifies that the prayers we say get lifted up in the air…. yes we do a fire inside. It’s a box made of wood with a fire lit inside. There’s prayers that are said, I only remember one of them. [Click the link below to hear the prayer that he recited to us] There’s a priest that stands next to the fire, and the immediate family make a circle around him. Then everyone else is outside of the circle. The priest says the prayer then everyone else joins them. Each time you say a certain word, you would put a certain type of offering in the fire, like an almond. It’s like food for the gods. These offerings are provided either by the priests of by the immediate family. If provided by the immediate family, the priest has to make it holy.”

Prayer for Hovan

Background:

My informant had no idea what it means. He said it’s different from everyday Hindi, and he only knows conversational Hindi.

Context:

The ritual happens when someone buys a new house. This ritual happens in order to bless the house.

Personal Thoughts:

There is once again a strong theme of family in this ritual, and is very heavily religious. The fact that my informant knew the prayer, but not what it meant, signals that this was more of a tradition for him, than an active practice of faith. It is an interesting liminal period between homes.