Half-demon/half Siva, Budia is a central Gavari figure distinguished by his dramatic horse hair-fringed mask, magic staff and twin Rai devi consorts. In each day’s Gavari ceremony the Budia character has three main duties.
- During the opening invocations he circles the arena constantly in the opposite direction as the dancers to seal in the numinous energy they and the shamans are generating.
- Later, during the dance drama segments, he dances guard around the arena perimeter to prevent audience members from entering the performance area or shaman circle unless they are clearly entranced.
- He also sporadically holds court at the arena’s edge with his two Rai partners to accept diverse donations for the troupe and confer blessings on fervent supplicants
Every Gavari village has its own iconic Budia mask and some date back several generations. Different village mask makers have different visions of his being ranging from stern and frightening to bemused and reproving.
if you have any interesting photos of Budia figures or masks, please consider sharing them here so we can build a provocative public collection.