Tribes refer to a group of distinct people, dependent on their land for their livelihood and not integrated to the society. As compared to other states the number of Tribes residence in Odisha is more. Rayagada, Kalahandi, Koraput, Malkangiri and Nabarangpur are some of the districts of Odisha where the total population of tribal is more than 50 percent of the total population. 62 different tribal communities are there in Odisha.
Marriage is considered as an important part of life by the tribal communities of Odisha. Tribes are very much religious minded, widely practicing religions like animism, animalism, nature-worship, fetishism, shamanism and anthropomorphism. The tribes of Odisha also worship their ancestors. They sacrifice animals to their local and tribal deities they worship.
A strand of festivals is celebrated by the tribal people of Odisha. In some festivals the tribal people go to jungle for hunting, and bring animals and distribute them in the village.
A majority of the Odisha tribes take up occupations like gathering, hunting and fishing to sustain their livelihood. Tribal communities’ like Juanga, Bhuiyan, Saora, Dharua and Bonda practice shifting cultivation or Podu Chasa, also known as slash and burn in the hilly areas. In shifting cultivation a plot of land is selected on a mountain slope, slash down all the trees and bushes and burn them to ashes. Then they spread the ashes evenly over the land; wait for the rains before planting their crops. After cultivating for two or three seasons on one plot of land the soil gets depleted and the tribes move on. It is a way of life for them. Some of the tribes’ occupation is handicraft industries or mills. Gadaba Tribe and Bonda tribe possess their own looms and are engaged in making clothes for regular use. The Koya tribes do cattle-rearing. The Mohali and Loharas are the simple artisans who practice crafts of basket weaving and tool making. Some tribes like the Santals, Munda, Oran and Ho community people work in the mining and industrial belts of the state.
There are different types of tribes in Odisha. Bonda Poraja Tribe, one of the significant tribes of Odisha has the tradition of following the practice of rescue at the time of marriage. Dal Tribe practices the rituals and rites of the Hindusm religion. Some Tribe follows the Hindusm religion.