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Festivals of Chhattisgarh
Hareli festival (July/August)
Held in the month of monsoon (sawan), Hareli Festival is celebrated in Chhattisgarh to pray for a good harvest. In this festival, the local farmers worship the farm equipments and cows and hang strings of neem leaves on their doors to ward off diseases and be blessed with healthy crops.
Bastar Dassera
As with the rest of India, Bastar celebrates Dassera. In fact, it is the region's most important festival, and all the tribes participate in the 10-day event. But Dassera in Bastar is different from anywhere else. Here, instead of rejoicing over the triumphant return of Lord Rama (the hero of the epic Ramayana) to Ayodhya after 14 years of exile, the tribals celebrate Dassera as a congregation of Devi Maoli ( Bastar's native deity, revered as the "elder sister" of Devi Danteshwari, the family goddess of the ruling Kakatiya family), and all her sisters. Hundreds of priests bring flower-bedecked local deities to the Danteshwari temple in Jagdalpur, arriving with all pomp and show.
Bhoramdeo Festival
The architecturally brilliant Bhoramdeo temples, built by King Ramachandra of the Nag dynasty, in the Satpura hills on the banks of river Sankari, form the backdrop for the annual Bhoramdeo Festival.
Pola Festival
Pola follows Hareli. It is celebrated by worshipping bullocks. Children play with idols of Nandi bull (the vehicle of Lord Shiva) made of clay and fitted with clay wheels. A bull race is a major event of the festival.
Teeja Festival
This festival is celebrated by married women - they pray for the welfare of their husbands. The custom is to perform this prayer at ther parents' home.
Goncha Festival
This comes alive every year during the "Rath Yatra" in Jagdalpur. The tribes participate in the festivity using a goncha (a sort-of pistol made from bamboo) and tukki (a fruit as the bullet) to shoot at each other, in fun, of course.
Champaran Mela
Held every year during January and February in a town 10 km from Rajim, this fair reflects the rich culture of the region. Mahaprabhu Vallabhacharya was born here and the mela attracts Vaishnavas from all over the country.
Narayanpur Mela
In month of February, right after Jagdalpur Dassera, various Bastar tribes gather, with their deities, for the Narayanpur Mela. The fair is marked by worship and celebration.
Fagun Wadai
This festival takes place in March, starting 7-8 days before Holi and ending a few days after Holi. The main attractions of this festival are the deities and the dances based on various tribal and folk stories. The madai (fair), marking the end of the festival, is attended by tribals from all over India.
Koriya Mela
This fair was first held by Ramanuj Pratap Singh Judeo, King of Koriya State, on Mahashivratri, in 1936. The tradition follows even today.
Madai festival (February)
The festival of Gonds, an old tribal community in Chhattisgarh, Madai Festival is a means to meet relatives settled in different villages and purchase yearlong supplies of daily needs such as salt and cooking oil. Devotees sacrifice a goat beneath the sacred village tree to honor the tribal goddess; the night is marked with non-stop drinking and dancing. The best place to visit to attend the festival is Narayanpur in Bastar.
Bhagoria Festival (March)
Held a week ago Holi, a Hindu festival, the Festival that originated in the Bhils dominated Jhabua district allows you to officially elope with your lover. The devotees worship the god of dance Bahgoradav on this occasion.
Ganga Dusshera (June)
The Ganga Dusshera Festival is celebrated on Bhim Sen Ekadashi to mark the sowing of Kharif crops. Tribal dances, colorful processions and endless rounds of drinking mark the Ganga Dusshera festival, which are similar to Dusshera celebrations in Chhattisgarh.
Chakradhar Samaroh
This music festival, is organised by the Ustad Allaudin Khan Sangeet Academy and the Chakradhar Lalit Kala Kendra, to commemorate the memory of Maharaja Chakradhar Singh. This former ruler, a great tabla player and dancer, wrote many books on music and dance. He developed a new form of Kathak and established the Raigarh Gharana.
Charta Festival (Hindu month of Paush in December end)
A harvest festival that is celebrated by all tribal communities in Chhattisgarh, Charta Festival has kids going around the village collecting rice from each household. The married girls then cook the collected rice on the banks of the nearby water body as men and women sing and dance, eagerly awaiting the community feast to be served.
Navakhana Festival (9th Day of Navmi) (The First Fruits Festival)
Another festival celebrated by all the communities to mark the rice harvest, Navakana festival begins with offerings of the harvested rice (new for the season) to the family deity on Navami. Some communities may even have dances and liquor during the night after the family consumes the first of the newly harvested rice.
Surhul Festival (April)
A festival that has nothing to do with harvest, Surhul Festival is dedicated to the worship of Mother Earth and is held on the day when the Sal Trees flower. The fields are left untouched through the whole day and the farmers offer prayers at the village Sarna (a small forest within the village).
Mati Puja (The Earth Festival )
Mati Puja festival is celebrated with great excitement and enthusiasm in Bastar district of Chhattisgarh. The festival is called by different names in different regions of Bastar district like Maati Ti'aar in central Bastar and Beeja Pandum in South Bastar. People worship the mother Earth on the occasion for getting blessed with ample yield of crops for the coming season. The festival holds the special importance in this region as people earn their living by farming and totally dependent on their crop yield every year.
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