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Santhali People

Other Spellings / Synonyms : Santali, Santal, Sentali, Samtali, Santhiali, Sonthal, Hor, Har, Satar, Sandal, Sangtal

Religion : Hindu, some are Christians

Language : Santali and its dialects including Karmali (Khole), Kamari-Santali, Lohari-Santali, Mahali (Mahle), Manjhi, Paharia. At present most Santhalis speak and understand Oriya language.

Regional Spread : Mainly in Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Orissa, Tripura and West Bengal in India. Santhalis are also present in Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal.

Traditional Occupation : Santhalis are mainly agriculturalists. Many are also laborers.

Population : Approximately 5,959,000 in India. Total population is estimated to be 6,050,000

Marriage Preference : Santalis seek matrimonial alliances in their own community.

About Santali People :

Santali is a Scheduled Tribe in India. Santals live along with other tribes. They usually work as cultivators and agricultural labourers. After the agricultural season is over Santals generally migrate for a temporary period to work as daily wagers. The Santals are also very backward in education. Their literacy is between 10 and 30%.

The Santal society is divided into twelve patrilineal exogamous clans, the names of which are occasionally used as surnames by the respective members of the group. Santalis live in spacious houses with a front and back verandah. The houses are clean and the walls are generally decorated with artistic paintings in different colours. Use of alcoholic drink is very common amongst Santhali people. Rice-beer is their traditional drink which they prepare at home. Karama festival and Makar Sankranti are a major festival for Santhalis.