Saturday, May 28, 2022
Madhya Pradesh

Fairs and Festivals

Ganga Dashmi

The festival falls on the tenth day of the second fortnight of Jyaistha (May-June).  In Surguja district, the occasion is observed by the Adivasis and the non-Adivasis. The classes of the Hindu fold celebrate it because on this day the river Ganges had its descent  on the earth.

They take a dip in any nearby river and make offerings. The tribals go in batches with their women to the riverside to drink and dance. Games and local competitions are arranged between both the sexes. The Adivasis take the occasion just for having a feast and fun.

Ghaila and Bidri

Ghaila is the earthen pot ceremony of the Gonds. It is a ceremony identical to the Akhadi or Akadhi (Akshya Tratiya) of the Hindus. It is performed in the month of Jyaistha (May-June). Certain rites are conducted by the village head-man and the fields are harrowed by the peasants. Then follows the sacrifice of five chickens by a Bhumia.

The sowing season begins in Gondwana with the sacrifice of a goat and Thakur Dev is propitiated in the Bidri ceremony.  A feast is arranged and served to the villagers. The rites are always performed by a  Baiga. This festival corresponds to the feast of transplantation of paddy seedlings celebrated by the Munda and most other settled  agricultural tribes of Chhotanagpur.

Hareli or Hariri

Hareli or Hariri falls on the day of Sravana Amavasya. In Mandla, it is celebrated on the new-moon day of the same month. The festival is significant for the  agriculturists of central India. On this day, all peasants and farmers offer puja to their implements. No one works the whole day. Paddy seedlings are stuck over the doors of houses by Dewar priests in Mandla villages. Men go and plant green twigs in the field with certain rites, wishing to have good crops.  Anadai, the goddess of crops, is invoked to give them prosperity. Young boys give an additional touch to the occasion by display of walking and running on stilts. In Malwa, the festival is called Harya Gondiya, with the difference that it is observed exclusively by women as Vrat, in the month of Asadha.

Kajri Navami

On the ninth day of the waxing-moon fortnight of the month of Sravana, falls the Kajri festival. In the Bundelkhandi-speaking area only those women, who are blessed with sons, observe this festival.  Their worship-ritual continues till the full-moon day of the same month. This day is also recognised as Kajri Purnima and Savani. For the fisher-folk of the western coast of the country, it is an occasion for offering coconuts to the sea.

On the Sravan Shukla Navami, the women go to a particular field and bring earth from there. This is kept in leaf-cups and in these leaf-cups is sown wheat or barley. These cups are kept in the inner room of the house, devoid of air and sunrays. In the room where these cups are kept, the floor is washed with cattle-dung and a part of the wall is also coated with the cattle-dung solution. On this part a design is made with rice-solution. Figures of a house, a child in cradle, a mongoose and a woman with a pitcher are drawn near this design. It is this folk art which is known as Navami.  Due worship of this is performed before sowing the wheat or barley seedlings. Everyday the worship is repeated till the fifteenth day ansd in the evening of this Purnima day, the cups are taken for immersion. The ladies form a procession, each carrying the leaf-cups on her head and go singing to some tank where they are immersed.  On the Kajri Navami the women keep fast.