Sikki, the golden grass of Bihar, grows in the wet and marshy areas of Madhubani district. Meera Thakur, a skilled sikki artisan, and one who practises the craft as a profession, says that the grass is collected by harijans in savan (or the rainy season), and is dried by them before being sold. The grass is also sold by the traders at the weekly haat or market and by itinerant door-to-door sellers. The rate varies but interestingly, sikki is not sold by weight, but measured by the fist. A fistful comprises of between 30 and 35 split stalks and costs around Rs. 1.50. Meera learnt the craft form her mother, Gucchi Devi, who, in turn, learnt from her mother. Although Meera's father worked alongside her mother in making sikki products, this is dominantly a women's craft. Traditionally, and even now, sikki grass products are made by the women of the household, especially brides-to-be who take these products to their husbands' home(s) after marriage as part of their dowry. Sikki containers and boxes, filled with dry-fruits and auspicious commodities are also gifted to daughters at the time of marriage.
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