Sacred trees among the Tamil people of South India

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Abstract

Among the Tamil people of South India the veneration of trees and forests still occupies an important part of their daily life. Once recognized as the abode of a local deity, trees are not allowed to be harmed or felled except for religious purposes such as for the repairing of a temple or shrine: sanctification is based on religious sentiments and cultural values, and also linked to ecology. Sacred trees are protected because people fear the anger of the gods that have their abode in them. People also worship trees because they hope that the power and fertility contained in them may be transferred into human life and sacred groves are often protected by local communities. Mostly sacred groves protect important watershed areas that deliver the important water resource to the communities. However, traditional values among others are decreasing due to a growth in urbanisation that is leading to the degradation and disappearance of sacred sites.
Original languageEnglish
Journal Journal of the Finnish Anthropological Society
Volume40
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)47-65
Number of pages19
ISSN0355-3930
Publication statusPublished - 2015
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5143 Social and cultural anthropology
  • 5203 Development Studies
  • 614 Theology
  • 4112 Forestry

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