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Sunday, August 17, 2008

Tribal Festivals in Jharkhand

SARHUL: Sarhul is celebrated during the spring season when the Shaal trees get new leaves. It is a worship of the village deity who is considered to be the protector of the tribes. People sing and dance a lot during the sprouting time. The deities are worshipped with shaal flowers. These shaal flowers represent brotherhood and friendship among villagers. Pahan, the priest, distributes shaal flowers to every villager after which the Prasad is given. The Prasad is a rice made wine called Handia.

KARAM: This festival is a worship of KARAM devta, the god of power, youth and youthfulness. Karam festival is held on the 11th day of the phases of moon in Bhadra month. The groups of young villagers go to the jungle and collect wood, fruits and flowers. These are required during the Puja of KARAM God. During this entire period, people sing and dance in groups. The entire valley seems to be dancing with the drumbeats. This is one of the rare examples of such a vital and vibrant youth festival in Jharkhand’s Tribal area. At the same time, the unmarried young tribal girls celebrate the Jawa festival, which has its own kind of songs and dance. This is held mainly for the expectation of good fertility and better household. The unmarried girls decorate a small basket with germinating seeds. It is believed that the worship for good germination of the grains would increase the fertility. The girls offer green melons to the Karam deity as a symbol of ‘son’ which reveals the primitive expectation of human being, i.e grains and children. The entire tribal area of Jaharkhand becomes tipsy during this time.

TUSU PARAB OR MAKAR: This festival is mostly seen in the areas between Bundu, Tamar and Raidih of jharkhand. This belt has a great history during India’s independence movement. TUSU is a harvest festival held during the winter in the last day of Poush month. It is also for the unmarried girls. Girls decorate a wooden/ bamboo frame with coloured paper and then gift it to the nearby hilly river. Although there is no documented history available on this festival but it has huge collection of scintillating songs full of life and taste. These songs reflect the simplicity and innocence of tribal people.

HAL PUNHYA: It is a festival which begins with the fall of winter. The first day of Magh month, known as “Akhain Jatra” or “Hal Punhya”, considered as the beginning of ploughing. The farmers, to symbolize this auspicious morning, plough two and half circles of their agricultural land. This day is also considered as the symbol of good fortune.

BHAGTA PARAB: This festival comes between the period of spring and summer. Among the tribal people of Jharkhand this festival is best known as the worship of Budha Baba. People fast during the day and carry the bathing Pahan, the priest, to the tribal mandir called Sarana Mandir. The Pahan, sometimes called Laya, when gets out of the pond, the devotees make a chain, locking their thighs with each other and come forward to offer their bare chest to Laya for a walk over. After worship in the evening, devotees take part in dynamic and vigorous Chhau Dance with lots of gymnastic actions and masks. The next day is full of primitive sports of bravery. The devotees pierce hooks on skin and get tied at one end of a long horizontal wooden pole, which is hanging on the top of a vertical Shal wood pole. The height goes up to 40 feet. The other end of the pole, which is connected with a rope, is pulled around the pole by the people and the tied devotee displays the breath-taking dance in the sky. This festivals is more popular in the Tamar region of Jharkhand.

ROHIN: This festival is perhaps the first festival of Jharkhand. It is a festival of sowing seeds in the field. Farmers starts sowing seeds from this day but there is no dance or song like other tribal festivals. Just a few rituals are usually done. There are some other festivals like Rajsawala, Ambavati and Chitgomha which are also celebrated with Rohin.

BANDNA: Bandana is one of the most famous festivals celebrated during the black moon month of Kartik (Kartik Aamavashya). This festival is mainly for the animals. Tribals are very close with animals and pets. In this festival, people wash, clean, paint, decorate feed well and put ornaments to their cows and bulls. The song dedicated for this festival is called Ohira which is an acknowledgement for animal’s contribution in their day-to-day life. The belief behind this festival is that animals are integral part of life and have souls as human beings do. The most exciting day of the bandana week is the last day. Closured Bulls and buffalos are chained to a strong pole and they are attacked with a dry animal Hyde. The angry animals hit the dry skin with their horns and the crowd enjoys. Generally the colour used for decorating animals are natural colours and the artwork is of folk type.

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