Harimau religion

The harimau worship a tiger-deity, Baghanara, described as being part man and part tiger, having a rusty-reddish coat, four arms, and wielding a trident. It is said that he watches over those that adhere to him and is believed to bestow some protection from tiger attacks. He is commonly referred to as the "Old man". Baghanara is believed to be the father of the harimau. They were once humans that were cursed with infertility. These humans fled into the mangrove forests that would later become known as the Sarilawan. There, Baghanara found them. He gave them special powers that transformed them into tiger people and taught them how to carry over their heritage through supernatural means. Since that day, the gift of the Harimau has been hereditary.

The harimau do not worship Baghanara in the human sense of the word, but rather praise him during the spring festivals with singing, dancing and religious trances. Common offerings to Baghanara include pieces of raw meat, especially boar, gaur or peafowl, and the burning of joss sticks. It is customary to place such offerings in the mouth of the tiger statue, symbolizing the feeding of the tiger. They also reject the notion that the Thalathanist god Tahamatan is related to or the same deity as Baghanara, but a few harimau view Tahamatan as the son of Baghanara.

The largest temple dedicated to Baghanara was located in Aatkanya, but only ancient ruins remain of the building today.

See also

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