Sarhul Festival, the most popular tribal celebration across the Jharkhand region, denotes the beginning of the new year. It is enjoyed by the tribal communities of the local Sarna religion, most notably by the Munda, Ho, and Oraon tribes.
This vibrant festival is celebrated at the beginning of spring every year in the first month of the Hindu calendar, on the third day of the moon or the fortnight of ‘Chaitra’. Travelers across the world visit Jharkhand to glimpse this colorful fiesta of the eastern Indian state. This year it will fall on April 4, Monday.
There are several myths about the festival. Sarhul means worship of trees. Being close to nature, the tribe Oraon continues this festival by worshipping trees and other elements of nature. One of the legends describes that the villagers during spring offered prayers to the village God or the protector of their tribe.
This festival is generally significant for the Oraon tribe. However, the Santals also enjoy it with great fervour. All the rituals are organized under the Sal tree, in the sacred grove known as the “SarnaSthal” or “Jaher”. To please the Gods and Mother Nature, tribal people offer fruits, and flowers, and sometimes devote animals and birds.
While nature veneration is a meaningful perspective of this unique festival, many cultural programmes are enjoyed side by side. The tribal men, women, and children wear gorgeous ornaments and sing, dance, and rejoice.
“Baa Porob” is one of the main attractions of Sarhul where the men and women of the Sarna tribe dress up in colorful and traditional dresses to perform traditional dances to the popular folk tunes of the region. The traditional clothes worn by the men are called “Karia” and women are named “Khanria”.
Furthermore, the people of the various tribes drink ‘Hadia’, a locally made beer that is hand-brewed by using a mixture of rice, water, and some tree leaves.
(With inputs from News 18)
By- Priya Bharti
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