Monday, 10 February 2014

XORAI - the traditional symbol of Assam

Xorai
'Xorai' is a traditional symbol of Assam.

In very simplistic terms, the Xorai is an offering tray, with a stand, which may or may not have a cover. But to the Assamese people, it is more than its physical structure!

Symbolism is an important aspect in the Assamese culture. Though handed down over the centuries, this ancient cultural practise is still very much in vogue even today. Various elements are used to represent beliefs, feelings, pride, identity etc. And the 'Xorai' is one of these elements!

It is made out of bell-metal, having a rounded tray for offerings with a stand. The cover is dome shaped with a pointed apex that can be removed.

The 'Xorai' is an element of great respect. It is used as an offering tray for betel nuts and leaves to guests as a sign of welcome and thanks. For offering food and other items to the Gods in the Namghars (place of worship). During cultural functions, the 'Xorai' occupies a prominent place on stage, as a symbol of respect and reverence for the culture. And it is, on many occasions, given as a gift to honour prominent personalities.

The Assamese 'Xorai' does not exude any tangible extravaganza as an object, but the intangible symbolic representations are immense to the people of its land.
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