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 tribal festivals in the state of Jharkhand also have their share of exuberance and excitement. The chief tribal festivals of Jharkhand are:
Sarhul is celebrated during the spring season when the Shaal trees get new leaves. Sarhul festival is the worship of the village deity who is considered to be the protector of the tribes.
The deities are worshipped with Shaal flowers. The Shaal flowers represent the brotherhood and friendship among villagers. The priest is called Pahan and he distributes Shaal flowers to every villager. The Prasad is then distributed among the villagers.
Karam Devta, the God of Power, youth and youthfulness is worshipped during the festival. The festival is held on the 11th day of the phases of moon in the Bhadra month. The groups of young villagers go to the jungle and collect the items required for Puja i.e. wood, fruits and flowers. 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. This is held mainly in 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 Jharkhand becomes tipsy during this time.
TUSU PARAB or MAKAR
This festival is mostly seen in the area between Bundu, Tamar and Raidih area of Jharkhand. 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 contribute it to the nearby hilly river.
Hal Punhya 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.
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, 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 walk over.
After the 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 display the breath-taking dance in the sky.
This festival is more popular in the Tamar region of Jharkhand.
This festival is perhaps the first festival of Jharkhand in the calendar year. It is a festival of sowing seeds in the field.
Farmers start sowing seeds from this day but there is no dance or song like other tribal festivals but just a few rituals. There are some other festivals like Rajsawala Ambavati and Chitgomha which are also celebrated with Rohin.
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 animals are integral part of life and have souls as human being 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 ithier horns and the crowd enjoys. Generally the colours used for decorating animals are natural colours and this artwork is of folk type.
Besides this all the other festivals like Diwali, Holi, Id, Christmas, Dusshera (Navratri) and Ramanawmi are also celebrated