Festivals of Jharkhand

The varied festivals of Jharkhand marks the 28th state of the Indian subcontinent as a spiritual canvas of soul stirring celebration. This state astonishingly combines antiquity and plenty. So the festive celebrations in the state of Jharkhand are marked with great ebullience and traditional ardor. Festivals in this state make for unrestrained jollification. Jharkhand participates in almost all the festivals taking place in the country. The festivals celebrated in Jharkhand embody the robust and composite cultural heritage of our nation. Various communities of the Indian subcontinent celebrate as many as forty festivals with complete communal concordance. The most important festival of the Hindus are.


One of the most important festivals of Jharkhand is the Holi. The spring festival of Holi is celebrated in Dhanbad in the month of Phalgun or in the months of February/March according to the English calendar and seems to have a universal appeal. The festival of Holi is celebrated with great charm and vigor in the state of Jharkhand. The legend of Holika is very much prevalent here. The lighting of bonfire also forms a special feature of the Holi celebrations in Dhanbad. Fun and frolic is also redefined in various forms in the festive celebrations here. People greet each other with colors and thus enhance the feeling of harmony due to which happiness prevails. The tradition of playing Holi with mud is also extremely delightful. 


Another prominent festivals of Jharkhand is the Diwali. The people of Jharkhand indulge themselves in the celebration of Diwali with much exuberance. The celebration of Diwali in the state of Jharkhand starts two days before the actual Diwali, celebrated in honor of Dhanvantari also known as the physician of Gods. The day just before the actual Diwali is known as `Choti Diwali` or `Small Diwali`. Songs in honor of the deities, the performance of `Arti`, lighting of lights or oil/ghee diyas, bursting of crackers characterize the festival of Diwali. Tiny footprints of the Goddess of Wealth, Mother Lakshmi are a special feature of the Rangolis designed for this auspicious ceremonial occasion. The tribal people of the state worship Goddess Kali on this day. 


This religious Hindu festival is celebrated in the whole country along with the state of Jharkand with equal amount of pomp and show. This auspicious day is observed to mark the birth of Lord Rama. The people of Jharkhand celebrate this sacred festival by observing fasts and observing prayers in his honor. In the state of Jharkhand early morning rituals marks this sacred ceremony. During this festival the people of Jharkhand sing and chant the name of Lord Rama. The devotees indeed have a highly colorful ceremony to mark the beginning of the wedding celebrations.


Dussehra, one of the much-awaited festivals of Jharkhand. /It is a ten days event in total. It demands the participation of the rich and the poor alike. The festival is marked in the state by the worship of Goddess Durga, the incarnation of the cosmic energy. Ramlila also forms a major part of the Dussehra celebrations in this state. The victory of Lord Rama over the demon king Ravana is celebrated in this state by visiting the temples and chanting verses from the great epic Ramayana. Huge effigies of the demon king Ravana are dressed in colorful outfits and then set onto fire. 

Basant Panchami

Another well known festival of Jharkhand is the Basant Panchami. This festival is celebrated in Jharkhand with as much pomp and fervor as that of the whole country. In this state Basant Panchami is celebrated to welcome the season of spring after the dead and decay of the winter season. People of this state take this festival to be full of religious, seasonal and social significance. The locals celebrate this joyous festival with much ebullience and the main attraction of this festival is kite flying. 

Chhath Puja

The `Sun-God` is worshipped by almost all civilizations but adopts a unique form in the state of Jharkhand. Chhath Puja is reckoned as one of the most important festivals of Jharkhand.. During this festival the setting Sun is worshipped with utmost sincerity and devotion. The inhabitants of the state have immense faith on this auspicious festival, which is celebrated two times a year once in the month of Chaitra or March, and the other time in which it is celebrated is the month of Kartik, which falls in the month of November. The harmonious melody of the lyrics chanted during this festival lets one immerse in the sanctity and the purity of this auspicious occasion. Besides the Hindus, some of the Muslims also actively participate in the holy ceremony. If we opt for redefining this festival then we can say that it is an expression of seeking blessings from the forces of the nature, thus representing the amalgamation of the Vedic and non-Aryan religion. 

Jitiya Bhaiya Dooj

Jitya Bhaiya Dooj one of the prominent festivals of Jharkhand is celebrated in the state of Jharkhand with as much exuberance as in the other states. It is a festival purely dedicated to the love and affection between brothers and sisters. Brothers bless their sisters and also promises to protect them from all hardships. The celebration of Bhaiya Dooj in this state can be redefined as a bond that speaks of sensitivity and timeless relationship.

The Muslim festivals in Jharkhand are celebrated with equal pomp and show and all the communities take the same interest in these festive celebrations as well. The chief Muslim festivals in Jharkhand are the Muharram, the two Ids, and Shah-I-Bharat. 


This festival occurs at the end of the month of Ramzan, is the gayest and falls on the first day of the tenth month of the Hijrah or Muslim calendar. This festival is celebrated in Dhanbad with great pomp and show. 


This festival popularly known as Bakri-Id or Eid-ul-Adha or Eid-Ul-Zuha is one of the most important festivals in the Muslim calendar. It is observed on the tenth day of the twelfth month in the Muslim calendar. The holiness of the day and the period preceding it makes this a popular time for undertaking the pilgrimage to Mecca. 


The most solemn and colorful Muslim function held in the state of Jharkhand is Muharram. This festival commemorates the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of the Holy Prophet. In all cities and towns Muslims take out impressive processions of colorfully decorated tazias, replicas of the martyr`s tomb at Karbala. In this state also Muharram is observed by taking out gold and silver replicas of old Nawabi times and men are seen beating their breasts in mourning constantly until blood oozes out.

The tribal festivals in the state of Jharkhand also have their share of exuberance and excitement. The chief tribal festivals of Jharkhand are: 


The festival of Karma, also known to be a religious festival, calls for huge celebration among the tribals of Jharkhand. On the day of this festival devotees keep fast of complete 24 hours. The cultural performances are observed keeping a branch of a Sal tree in the middle of an open ground. 


This is the main festival of the tribal population of Jharkhand. The verbal meaning of Sarhul is worship of the Sal tree. Sarhul can also be redefined as worship of nature in which local people worship Sita, the wife of Lord Rama as `Dhartimata`. They also worship the Sal tree, which is believed as the abode of Goddess Sarna who protects the village from all kinds of natural calamities and disasters. 


Here the cultivation year begins with the fall of winter. The first day of Magh month which is known as Akhain Jatra or Hal Punhya, means 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 namely the festival of the devotees, comes in the end of spring season and in the beginning of summer season. Among the tribal, it is popularly known as worship of Budha Baba because here it has got its own meaning and procedure of worshipping. Bhagta or devotees observe fast for the worship. In the evening they carry their village priest called Laya from bathing pond to the temple. It is a peculiar sacrificial scenario when the Laya gets out of the pond after bathing the devotees make a chain, locking their thighs with each other and come forward to offer their bare chest to Laya for walk over. After the evening worship, devotees take part in dynamic and vigorous Chhau Dance. The next day, a primitive sports of bravery is observed. The devotees pierce hooks on the back of their skin and get tied at one end of a long horizontal wooden pole, which is hanging on the top of a vertical Sal wood pole, at a height of about 30 feet or sometimes 50 feet. Now the other end of the horizontal pole which is connected with a rope, pulled around the pole by the people and the tied devotee display the breath taking dance in the sky. 


Perhaps the first folk festival of this land is Rohin. It is a symbolic festival of sowing seeds in the field. Farmers begin sowing seeds from this day. There is no dance or song like other festivals but just a few rituals. There are also some other festivals along with Rohin and they are Rajsawala Ambavati and Chitgomha. 


The another extensively celebrated festival is Ind-Karam which is held on the 11th day of the phases of moon in Bhadra month. It is the festival of youthfulness and for the youth. The youth of villages get together in the forest. Where they dance, sing and collect fruits and flowers for the worship of the deity known as Karma Devta. At the evening, when the worship is over, dancing and signing go all through the night. The entire plateau resounds with dance of damsel, song of spirit and joy of juvenalia. It is indeed a rare example of such a vital and vibrant youth festival. At the same time, the unmarried girls celebrate the Jawa festival, which has its own kind of dance and songs. This is held mainly with an expectation of 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 as well. The girls also offer a green melon to the deity as a symbol of the son. This reveals the primitive expectation of human being, i.e grain and children. 


Perhaps the most popular festivals is Bandana Parab during the black moon of Kartik month (Kartik Aamavashya. This festival is mainly for the benefit of animals and symbol of animal worship. The songs of this festival are called Ohira. Farmers clean their animals, feed them well, give them complete rest, decorate and ornate them. They sing songs of admiration as an acknowledgement for their contribution. The primitive people believe that animals also have spirits which might harm or benefit them. So as to pacify these spirits as well as for better performance they worship their animals. The alluring of the weeklong festival takes place on the last day. Bulls and buffalos are chained to a strong pole and they are attacked with a dry animal hyde. The angry and excited animals hit the dry skin with its horns and the crowd enjoy looking at its vigorousness, anger and excitement. A unique aspect of Bandna is the wall embellishment with the folk painting. 


Here the most common festival is Tusu or harvest festival comes during the winter in the last day of Pus month. It is also for the unmarried girls. For them Tusu is super excellent with grace and elegance who may fulfill their desire. Though there is no history behind this festival, there are some ritual custom and what it has its tremendous store of scintillating songs full of life and taste. The stories and the experiences of livelihood are reflected through these songs. It is so deeply affective that one can realize the simplicity impression in the innocent people of this land.

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