Festivals In Jharkhand
Sarhul is celebrated during spring season and the Saal trees get new flowers on their branches. It is a worship of the village deity who is considered to be the protector of the tribes. People sing and dance a lot when the new flowers appear. The deities are worshiped with saal flowers. The village priest or Pahan fasts for a couple of days. In the early morning he takes a bath and puts on new a dhoti made of virgin cotton (kachha dhaga). The previous evening, the Pahan takes three new earthen pots and fills them with fresh water; the next morning he observes these earthen pots and water level inside. If the water level decreases he predicts that there would be famine or less rain, and if the water level is normal, that is the signal of a good rain. Before pooja starts, the wife of the Pahan washes his feet and gets blessings from him. At the pooja, Pahan offers three young roosters of different colors to one for the almighty god the Singbonga or Dharmesh, as the Mundas, Ho and Oraons respectively address Him; another for the village deities; and the third for the ancestors. During this pooja villagers surround the Sarna place.
Traditional drum " Dhol, Nagara and Turhi" players keep drumming and playing along with Pahan chanting prayers to deities. When pooja is finished, boys carry Pahan on their shoulders and girls dancing ahead take him to his house where his wife welcomes him by washing his feet. Then Pahan offers Saal flowers to her wife and villagers. These flowers represent the brotherhood and friendship among villagers and Pahan the priest, distributes saal flowers to every villager. He also puts saals flowers on every house's roof which is called "phool khonsi". At the same time Prasad, a rice made beer called Handia, is distributed among the villagers. And the whole village celebrates with singing and dancing this festival of Sarhul. It goes on for weeks in this region of Chhotanagpur. In Kolhan region it is called "Baa Porob" meaning Flower Festival. it is the festival of the grest happiness.
The Karam festival is a worship of Karam devta, the god of power, youth and youthfulness. Karam is held on the 11 of moon in Bhadra month. 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 period people sing and dance in groups. The entire valley seems to be dancing with the drumbeatth day of the phases. 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 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 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 Jaharkhand. 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 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, Bhagta Parab 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 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, pulled around the pole by the people and the tied devotee display the breath-taking dance in the sky. This festivals is more popular in the Tamar region of Jharkhand.
Rohini 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 but just a few rituals. There are some other festivals like Rajsawala Ambavati and Chitgomha are also celebrated with Rohini.
Bandana is one of the most famous festivals celebrated during the black moon of 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 bandanna week is the last day. Closured bulls and buffaloes 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 is artwork is of folk type.
This is held once every 12 years. The womenfolk wear menswear and go for hunting in forest. Jani-Shikaar is performed in remember of driving away the mohameddens by the kurukh womenfolk in Roh-tas-garh, who wanted to capture the fort on the Sharhul festival new year day for tribal community, when men used to be in drunken condition. They had tried to capture 12 times in 12 years and every time they were driven by the kurukh women, who wore the men's clothes while in the field of war.
Chhath is an ancient Hindu festival and only Vedic Festival dedicated to the Hindu Sun God, Surya, also known as Surya Shashti. The Chhath Puja is performed in order to thank Surya for sustaining life on earth and to request the granting of certain wishes. The Sun, considered the god of energy and of the life-force, is worshiped during the Chhath festival to promote well-being, prosperity and progress. In Hinduism, Sun worship is believed to help cure a variety of diseases, including leprosy, and helps ensure the longevity and prosperity of family members, friends, and elders.