I watched a programme on Sun TV the other day about a festival celebrated by the Kurumba tribes in Kerala. The programme was limited to the way it was celebrated and it got me interested. During the festival devotees take a procession to the Bhagawathy temple at Kodungallur singing obscene songs, making lewd gestures and hurling abuses at their god.
I browsed the Internet for details and found many references to it. This paper by M.J.Gentes of the University of Texas dealt in detail the happenings in the festival.http://www.scribd.com/doc/7825315/Scandalising-Devi-at-Kodungallur
The trite saying Truth is stranger than fiction came to my mind. We are so much used to seeing hymns being sung in praise of god by groveling devotees and here are people abusing god with choicest expletives. Still, is there any other place on earth where god is treated with such utter contempt, if only for one day? The author of the said paper compares Greek, Roman and Mesopotamian myths and festivals with our own Kerala festival and draws several parallels and make surmises.
Whatever could have been the origins of the festival, it would definitely have served as a catharsis for the people to rant and rave and take it on the goddess the drudgery of their living. They probably would have gone back de-stressed and invigorated to living more such drudgery.