The Parched Grain Chant: Parallel verse and simultaneous action in Magar rituals


  • Michael Oppitz


This article deals with a particular ritual chant of the Northern Magar, who live in the foothills of the Dhaulagiri Massif in the north-western part of central Nepal. The song is called lawa kheti or Parched Grain Chant and constitutes one in a multitude of different oral texts, as sung by the local healers or shamans (ramma) in the course of their séances. All chants of the Magar shamans are emphatically religious in nature as they are never sung or performed outside the ritual context. Furthermore, the chants are absolutely indispensable components of any ritual event; indeed, next to certain material implements and a great range of ceremonial acts, they provide the basic modular elements for the composition of a ritual. The Parched Grain Chant is one such modular element in the shamanic healing rituals of the Magar. In order to comprehend its position and function in the entire ritual, it must be viewed against the background of the other modular elements of which the rite is composed; and its place must be indicated in relation to the other chants forming the body of the local oral art.


MagarNepallawa khetiParched Grain Chantritualschantsoral textshealing ritualsparallel versesimultaneous action
  • Year: 2010
  • Volume: 8
  • Page/Article: 83-124
  • DOI: 10.25894/ldd219
  • Published on 31 Jul 2014