Segments in this Video

Iramudon Ritual Overview (04:30)


Southwestern Sri Lankans believe that demonic possession and cosmic disorder cause disease. Spirit doctors, or eduras, determine the demon, or yakka, responsible. During rituals, they make offerings to the yakka pantheon. This video features a terminally ill patient.

Ritual Preparations (08:15)

Exorcists, drummers, and dancers prepare ritual offerings and build a tray stand for the demons Riri, Kalu, Sani, and Mahasona. They construct a suniyam badiya palace, symbolic bier, cremation place at a crossroads, and dummy to substitute for the patient.

Invocation of the Buddha and Summoning the Demons (03:58)

The edura calls upon the power of the Buddha to protect himself and the patient. He uses chants, incense, and whistles to invoke the yakka. He places five torches on the badiya and asks them to accept his offerings.

Gathering Time Dance of the Demons (03:52)

A dancer invokes the Riri yakka, chanting mantras and building into a trance. He blesses turmeric water, coconut flowers, and coconut fruit, waving them over the patient and wishing him long life. He collects the demonic spirit in a pot.

Coconut Flower Dance (04:26)

A dancer inhales smoking incense and dances into a frenzy, beating himself in the face with the flowers. He transfers the demonic spirit to the rooster, pretends to sacrifice it, and burns a feather. He waves it over the patient.

Offerings of Poems and Flowers to Buddha and Gods (03:19)

The chief exorcist recites poems about gods and tells the Riri yakka origin myth. He uses the Igaha wand to remove ailments and recites the "head to foot" poem to draw the illness from the patient.

The Money Offering (01:16)

The exorcist's assistant waves offerings above the patient's head; congregants wish him a long life. He offers money to the demons while the edura draws out the demonic spirit.

The Ritual Bier (03:57)

Offerings include the exorcist, dummy, and demon food. Assistants place a red cloth representing blood on the edura in a symbolic sacrifice and "mourn" the dummy. He purifies the patient with lime; the patient gives him a ring symbolizing divorce from the demon.

The Double Torch Gathering Time (05:31)

A dancer exorcist works into a state of possession to take in Riri yakka's spirit. He throws flames to attract the demon and purify the area, and removes its influence with the Igaha.

At the Cremation Place (04:04)

The dancer exorcist rushes to the top of the pirale to escape the demon. Assistants cut limes and pour purifying turmeric water in his mouth. The edura symbolically sacrifices the rooster, destroys the demon spirit in the dummy, and purifies his assistants.

Credits: Iramudon: Dispelling Demons (00:45)

Credits: Iramudon: Dispelling Demons

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Iramudon: Dispelling Demons

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This program by anthropologist Barrie Machin features a Sri Lankan healing ritual for dispelling demons.

Length: 44 minutes

Item#: FPT192058

ISBN: 978-1-64623-776-0

Copyright date: ©1983

Closed Captioned

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Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.