Saturday, May 28, 2022
Madhya Pradesh

Fairs and Festivals


Karam or Karma is the festival of the Oraon, Baiga, Binjhawar and Majhwar tribes. It occurs in the month of Bhadra.

The centre of the ritual consists in the cutting of three branches of Karam tree (Gonds fetch branches of Kalmi or galdu tree) and their installation in the 'akhara' or dancing ground. The branches are called the 'Karam Raja'. The entry of the branches into the village is accompanied by dancing and after the installation Karam dancers revolve round the Raja through the night. The following morning the branches are garlanded and the Karam legend is recited. Flowers are then thrown over the Raja and offerings of curd and rice are made.  Red karan baskets full of grain are also put before the branches and some ceremonially nurtured barley seedlings are distributed among the boys and girls who put the yellow blades in their hair.  The blessing of Karam Raja is then sought and the branches are taken up and carried by women through the village.

Girls of the Gond tribe celebrate Karam by carrying earthen pots with holes and oil lamps inside them, go from house to house, collecting eatables and coins. This is done in the month of Asvina. The Korwa  and Korku Adivasis celebrate this occasion after the harvest. Karam is also associated with a variety of dances and folk songs.

Bhojali (Bhujalia)

This significant festival of Chhattisgarh is observed in the month of Bhadra. About a week before the actual Bhojali day, i.e. on the day of Nagpanchami,  wheat, gram, rice or kondo seeds  are sown in earthen pots and manured to grow into green shoots. These seeds are watered everyday with a view to having the ensuing crop in abundance. The sprouting of the seeds are called Bhujaria in Bundelkhand and Jawara in Malwa.  At some places seeds are nurtured in leaf-cups or 'churkus' which is a kind of conical baskets tied at the top of bamboo pieces. 

On the Bhojali day, meals are held in every town, village and locality. The womenfolk of the countryside holding the Bhojali (the seedlings) in their hands or keeping the earthen pots containing the green growth on their heads go in groups to nearby rivers or tanks. There the Bhojali is floated over the water. While on the way to the river they sing ceremonial songs, many of which are addressed to the river Ganges.

In Bundelhand, blades of grain are exchanged among friends and relatives. In Chhattisgarh, during the festival, women assemble at the melas and address one another in terms of Bhojali. When the sprouts are submitted to the water, the concluding songs generally refer to Bhojali as a deity, close to the mother-goddess.


On the full moon day of Bhadra, the festival of  Kujlaya is celebrated to commemorate the reunion of the legendary queen, Malhana Devi, with her daughter who had been married to the son of a hostile king.

Nine days before the Kujlaya, wheat or barley is sowed in small baskets filled with black soil and manure. Then, on the full-moon day women of the locality assemble at someone's place and tie rakhi to their brothers and nearest relatives, including husbands, or would be marriage partners in case of unmarried girls. The following day the basket of wheat or barley seedlings are taken out in procession to a river side to sink their contents, except the green shoots which they distribute among themselves in the name of  Malhana Devi. On way to the river they sing a few songs.


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