Saturday, May 28, 2022
Madhya Pradesh

Fairs and Festivals

Arwa Teej

The festival is specially observed by the unmarried girls in Chhattisgarh and it is held during the month of Vaisakha. The occasion is marked by making a small canopy of mango twigs, decorated according to individual taste.

This whole thing is a dress rehearsal for marriage and is usually followed by feeding the neighbours. Special songs are sung on the occasion.  The most popular songs smack of sentimental flavour which are associated with the bride's home-coming.

In some parts of Madhya Pradesh, Arwa Teej coincides with Akhateej (Akshya Tratiya) which marks the commencement of the agricultural year.

Sanja and Mamulia

Unmarried girls of north-western Madhya Pradesh annually worship a legendary girl called Sanja. The ritual is associated with figures and designs made by girls on smeared portions of mud walls through the medium of cattle-dung.

In the month of Asvina, the festivities of Sanja run consecutively for sixteen days. Everyday new designs and figures are made and in the evening songs are recited in chorus before them.

Corresponding to the Sanja, the girls in Bundelkhand worship Mamulia. Mamulia is represented by a green branch of a lemon tree. The branch is adorned with a coloured skirt and a wimple. Wild flowers are attached in each thorn of the branch and dry fruits and sweets are hung around it. Music is played round the branch and later it is taken to a pond for immersion.


Girls have their own feature in this festival. They gather in the evening in groups and visit every house of the village carrying earthen pots with holes for the light to come out, made by a wick oil lamp kept inside. The pot is also termed Ghadlya or Ghurla which means a horse, as it is known in Malwa.. The girls recite songs connected with Ghadlya in front of every house. In return they get foodstuff or coins. The Gond girls observe a similar festival.  The boy's festival is known as Chhala. In the adjoining region of Bundelkhand, it is identified as Tesoo.


The Suwata of Bundelkhand relates to the Ghadlya of Malwa. Girls, in this form of celebration prepare a mini platform along the wall with clay.  The three sides of this platform are provided with steps. On the platform an image of a demon is made to stand. The sun and the moon are drawn on the wall to give an idea of two brothers. On the head of the demon's image, small images of both Shiva and Parvati are placed. Only these figurines are invoked. Oblation of flowers and green grass blades are made to them and songs connected with the Suwata, sung. These songs are generally attributed to Gouri, the consort of Lord Shiva.

Pandum or Parad

Confined to the Abujhmarias of Bastar, the Pandum festival is observed during the community hunt. Before starting for the hunting expedition, offerings are made by the Hill Marias for a rich game and the safe return of the hunters.

In the month of Phalguna the other tribes of Bastar arrange hunting expeditions which continue for many days. Ceremonial hunts are believed to help a rich harvest of animals in the forest and a bumper crop. There are various types of Parad. Birds are hunted in the Chidayi Parad and small animals are killed in the Chotti Parad. In Beej Parad, weapons are sanctified and seeds are brought. Deities are propitiated and the nature of the hunt is predicted by Perma, the village sorcerer.