In Yadgiri Tahsil, an administrative subdivision of Mysore State, many villages stage annual fairs or festivals in honor of local deities. These festivals, known locally as “jātras,” usually involve the enactment of ritual, competition between villages, public entertainment, commercial activities, and feasting and celebrating. Description of the jātra as an “interlocal festival” emphasizes its distinguishing feature, the entertainment of reified guest villages by an equally reified host village. Participants in a jātra consist of guests representing neighboring villages and of hosts representing the village where the jātra is held. Comparison of the jātra with such cultural features as the American county fair, the Creek Indian ball game, the Olympic games, the Mexican fiesta, Pueblo Indian ceremonials, and medieval European tournaments may well, at a later date, make possible the establishment of the concept of interlocal festivals as a basis for cross-cultural generalizations. For the present, four jātras held in Yadgiri Tahsil will be described and some of their possible functions suggested.

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