Chaitrual is a popular festival of the Sirmaur area. It is celebrated
in the month of Chaitra on a certain day in the bright fortnight of the
moon. On this day the walls in the house are cleared, painted and decorated
with figures of male animals and crops symbolising plenty. It is also
known as festival of pictures.
The Harijans are fed and the family deities
are taken out into the fields where the people cook a special delicacy
known as Poltu. Sometime people place the deity in the middle of the fields
and cook a special savoury gruel as offering. As they are driven back,
the wheels of the chariots of the gods are brushed with thorny twigs.
At some places clay pots are broken to chase away evil spirits.
Some other features of this festival are indicative of primitive customs.
One such custom is 'Khore'.
It is said to symbolise the compromise between
the gods and the demons (the Aryans and the non-Aryans). In this a man
from a specific family dresses up in special robes and puts on a demon
mask (Khor). Cloth phallus is hung near his neck and a cloth vagina (chhunchhuni)
below his waist. The young men in the village bring a phallus-shaped stick
from their homes known as Chaitral-Shid and tickle the 'khone' uttering
obscene remarks. This continues throughout the night obscene jokes are
also cracked with women. At the end of the night the khone returns to
the temple, having first gone around the village with drummers.