With its diverse cultural heritage, Jharkhand finds a unique place in celebrating it’s tribal festivals among the tribes. The distinct fervour of mirth & gaiety in these festivals imparts a vivid impression in the spiritual antiquity of India. The beauty of these festivals lies in the fact that how exquisitely they transcend the threshold of religious fences bringing about a harmonious feeling of brotherhood. Nonetheless, tribal festivals provide not only a spectacle of native aesthetics but also a plea for socio-economic sustenance.
Some of the Tribal Festivals are:
One of the prolific festivals commences during the spring season. The literal meaning of the word ‘Sarhul’ denotes ‘worship of sal trees. Lord Rama’s wife Sita & the Sal tree considered being the abode of the village deity who will protect the village folk from the impending calamities. Rice beer & flowers are offered by Priest ‘Pahan’ with prayers & the traditional drumming of dhol, nagara etc.
It is held on the 11th day of the phases of the moon of the Bhadra month. It is a rare example of a vivacious festival where the youth of villages dance, sing & worship keeping at the center of attraction – the God of youthfulness Karam Dev. At the same time, the unmarried girls observe the Jawa festival. They decorate a small basket with germinating seeds reflecting the very primitive notions of fertility.
This festival comes at the convergence of summer and spring. Widely known for the worship of Budha Baba in the sanctum of the tribal temple called Sarana Mandir. It is extensively popular in the Tamar region. On the day of worship, the devotees form a chain with their sheens & offer their bare chest for the priest to walk over. In the evening, the scenario meets a rapid change. People pierce their skin with hooks & present spell-bounding display of rope tricks, pole dancing & Chhau dance of gymnastic action.
Bandana is an ancient festival that floods the plateau region with joy & exuberance. It falls on the day of the black moon of Kartik month. Farmers clean & decorate their animals with ornaments & jubilantly chant the songs of their contribution to the household namely Ohira. On the very last day, bulls and buffalos are tie to a strong pole & attack with animal Hyde. The furious animals try to hit the hyde with horns violently as the rapturous crowd rejoice & scream. The embellishment of folk painting on animal skin is what gives this fest a distinguished identity.
Synonymous with the harvest celebration, Tusu Parab finds it’s core in the regions of Bundu, Raidih belt of Jharkhand. It is held on the last day of the month of Poush. Girls furnish the wooden frame with paper & flowers. Then they gift it to the nearby river. The ritual customs are the storehouse of heartwarming songs of life & zest. The innocence & simplicity of folklore is well mirrore in these songs.
It starts with the fall of winter. The opening of the day of Magh month is recognized as Hal Punhya or Akhain Jatra, marks the advent of the auspicious event of plowing. Farmers plow two & half circles of their agricultural land which symbolizes good fortune.
Amid the cross-section of different tribes of Oraon, Munda & Santhals, these festivals come alive to delineate the clan spirit which encompasses the crux & principle of their lives. They offer the insight to the mystical forces that govern the cosmos & man’s akin longing to be at one with them.