Bihar, located in the eastern part of India, is a state that is rich in culture and tradition. One of the main aspects of its culture is the celebration of festivals throughout the year. These festivals are an expression of the state’s vibrant culture and the diverse communities that call it home. In this blog post, we will explore some of the most popular festivals of Bihar and what makes them so special.
Festivals of Bihar
Bihar is a land of diverse cultures and traditions, and festivals play an essential role in the state’s cultural heritage. The festivals of Bihar are a reflection of its rich history and diverse communities and are celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervor. From Chhath Puja, the most significant festival in the state, to Diwali, Holi, and many more, each festival has its unique significance and rituals. The festivals of Bihar bring people together, promoting communal harmony and a sense of belongingness. They are an integral part of the state’s cultural identity and provide a glimpse into its vibrant and colorful culture.
Chhath Puja is an important Hindu festival celebrated primarily in Bihar, Jharkhand, and Uttar Pradesh, as well as in certain regions of Nepal. The festival is dedicated to the worship of the Sun God, Surya, and is celebrated on the sixth day after Diwali, during the Hindu month of Kartik.
Chhath Puja is a four-day festival that involves various rituals and customs. The first day is known as Nahay Khay, where devotees take a dip in the holy river and prepare traditional food. The second day is called Kharna, where devotees fast for the whole day and break their fast in the evening after offering food to the deities. The third day is the main day of the festival, known as Sandhya Arghya, where devotees offer prayers to the setting sun and then to the rising sun the next morning. The fourth and final day is called Paarun, where devotees break their fast after offering prayers to the rising sun.
Chhath Puja is a unique festival as it involves several difficult rituals, including fasting without water for more than 24 hours, standing in water for long periods, and offering prayers to the Sun God. Devotees believe that these rituals purify the mind, body, and soul and bring prosperity and happiness to their lives.
The festival of Chhath Puja has a special significance for women, as they are the ones who mainly observe the fast and perform the rituals. They wake up early in the morning to prepare the traditional food and perform the puja with utmost devotion and sincerity.
In recent years, Chhath Puja has gained popularity in other parts of India and even in other countries. The festival is a symbol of unity, harmony, and cultural diversity, and it brings people from all walks of life together to celebrate and worship the Sun God. Chhath is the most celebrated and important festival of Bihar.
Sonepur Mela, also known as the Harihar Kshetra Mela, is one of the largest cattle fairs in Asia and is held annually in the town of Sonepur in Bihar, India. The fair is held on the full moon day in the Hindu month of Kartik and continues for around a month. It is a vibrant and colorful celebration that attracts visitors worldwide to witness the trade of various animals, including horses, elephants, cows, and buffaloes.
Apart from the animal trade, the Sonepur Mela also features a variety of stalls selling handicrafts, clothes, and other goods, as well as various forms of entertainment such as magic shows, puppet shows, and folk dances. The fair is a unique blend of commerce, culture, and entertainment and provides a fascinating insight into the rural life and traditions of Bihar.
Makar Sankranti, also known as the festival of kites, is a Hindu festival celebrated annually on January 14th or 15th, marking the transition of the sun into the zodiac sign of Capricorn. This auspicious occasion is observed in different parts of India with great enthusiasm and is marked by various cultural and traditional practices.
The festival is known by different names in different regions of India. In Maharashtra, it is known as Makar Sankranti, while in Tamil Nadu, it is celebrated as Pongal. In Assam, it is celebrated as Bhogali Bihu, while in Uttar Pradesh, it is known as Khichdi.
One of the most significant aspects of Makar Sankranti is the act of taking a holy dip in rivers such as the Ganges, Yamuna, and Godavari. People believe that taking a bath during this time washes away their sins and purifies their souls. Another important ritual is the offering of food to birds, especially crows, which are considered to be the messengers of the god of death, Yama.
The festival is also marked by the flying of kites, which is considered to be a symbol of bringing people closer together. In several parts of India, people compete with each other to fly the highest kite. This adds to the overall joy and excitement of the festival.
Makar Sankranti is a festival that celebrates the importance of agriculture and the harvesting of crops. It is a time when farmers express gratitude to the gods for a bountiful harvest and pray for a prosperous year ahead. The festival is also an occasion for families to come together and share traditional delicacies such as til laddus, gur rewri, and khichdi.
In conclusion, Makar Sankranti is a festival that holds great significance in the Hindu religion. It is a time when people come together to celebrate the changing of the seasons, the bountiful harvest, and the joy of being with loved ones. Through its various rituals and traditions, the festival reminds us of the importance of gratitude, unity, and togetherness.
Holi is a festival of colors that is celebrated all over India, including Bihar. The festival is usually celebrated in the month of March and marks the arrival of spring. People throw colors at each other, dance to music and feast on traditional sweets and delicacies. The festival is a celebration of the triumph of good over evil and the arrival of a new season.
In conclusion, the festivals of Bihar are a testament to the state’s vibrant culture and traditions. The festivals are a celebration of the diversity of the communities that call Bihar home, and they bring people together in a spirit of joy and harmony.
Whether it is the Chhath Puja or the Sonepur Mela, each festival has its unique charm and significance. If you ever get a chance to visit Bihar, make sure to witness the joy and enthusiasm with which the people of Bihar celebrate their festivals.
Rajgir Mahotsav is an annual cultural festival celebrated in Rajgir, a town located in the Nalanda district of Bihar, India. This festival is a celebration of the rich cultural heritage of Bihar and showcases various traditional art forms, music, dance, and cuisine of the region.
The festival is usually held in the month of October or November and lasts for three to four days. It is organized by the Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC) in association with the Nalanda district administration. Rajgir is a major tourist attraction in Bihar.
During the festival, various cultural programs are organized at different venues across Rajgir, including the Rajgir International Convention Centre, Bimbisar Stadium, and other public spaces. Some of the popular events that take place during the festival include classical music and dance performances, folk music and dance shows, food and craft exhibitions, and a grand procession showcasing the cultural diversity of Bihar.
Rajgir Mahotsav is a major attraction for tourists from all over India and the world who come to witness the vibrant and colorful cultural extravaganza of Bihar. The festival provides a platform for local artists to showcase their talent and also promotes tourism in the state.
Bihula-Bishari Puja is a traditional festival celebrated in Bihar, India, primarily in the Mithila region. The festival is held to commemorate the legend of Bihula and her husband Chand, who were known for their undying love and devotion to each other. The legend dates back to the 7th century and is mentioned in the Skanda Purana, an ancient Hindu scripture.
According to the legend, Bihula’s husband Chand was bitten by a snake and died. Bihula was distraught and inconsolable, but she was determined to bring her husband back to life. She embarked on a journey to the court of Yama, the god of death, and pleaded with him to return her husband to her. Yama refused, but Bihula was determined and eventually managed to bring Chand back to life with the help of the snake goddess Manasa.
To celebrate this legend, Bihula-Bishari Puja is observed in the month of August or September, depending on the lunar calendar. The festival is marked by processions, prayers, and offerings to the snake goddess Manasa. People also fast on this day and observe various rituals to seek the blessings of the goddess.
The festival is a celebration of love, devotion, and determination, and it continues to be an integral part of the cultural heritage of Bihar. The legend of Bihula and Chand has been passed down from generation to generation, and the festival serves as a reminder of the enduring power of love and devotion.
Ram Navami is a Hindu festival celebrated in honor of Lord Rama, one of the most revered gods in Hinduism. Lord Rama is believed to be the seventh incarnation of Lord Vishnu and is known for his wisdom, courage, and compassion.
Ram Navami is celebrated on the ninth day of the Hindu month of Chaitra, which falls in March or April according to the Gregorian calendar. The festival marks the birthday of Lord Rama and is observed with great devotion and enthusiasm across India and among Hindu communities around the world.
On this day, devotees of Lord Rama observe fasts, recite hymns and prayers, and participate in processions and other religious ceremonies. Many people also visit temples dedicated to Lord Rama, where the deity is adorned with new clothes and jewelry and special pujas (worship rituals) are performed.
One of the most popular traditions associated with Ram Navami is the recitation of the Ramayana, an ancient Hindu epic that tells the story of Lord Rama’s life and his battle against the demon king Ravana. The recitation of the Ramayana is considered to be a way of invoking Lord Rama’s blessings and seeking his divine grace.
Ram Navami is a celebration of the virtues of Lord Rama and serves as a reminder of the importance of righteousness, duty, and devotion in the Hindu faith. It is a time for spiritual reflection, renewal, and rededication to the path of dharma, or righteousness.
Shravani Mela is a Hindu festival celebrated in Bihar, India during the Hindu month of Shravan (July-August). This month-long festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva, one of the principal deities in the Hindu pantheon.
During Shravani Mela, devotees from all over the country travel to the town of Deoghar in Bihar, which is home to the famous Baba Baidyanath Temple. This temple is believed to house one of the 12 Jyotirlingas (sacred stones) of Lord Shiva, and is considered to be one of the holiest places in the Hindu religion.
The festival is marked by a number of rituals and traditions, including the ritual of Kanwar Yatra, where devotees carry pots of holy water from the Ganges river to the Baba Baidyanath Temple in Deoghar. This yatra is considered to be a way of seeking Lord Shiva’s blessings and purification of the soul.
Another popular tradition during the Shravani Mela is the offering of belpatra leaves to Lord Shiva. These leaves are believed to be very dear to Lord Shiva and are offered as a sign of devotion and respect. Devotees also perform special pujas (worship rituals) at the temple and offer milk, honey, and other sweets to Lord Shiva.
The Shravani Mela is a time of great devotion and celebration, with thousands of devotees thronging to the Baba Baidyanath Temple every day during the month of Shravan. The festival is not just a religious event, but also a cultural one, with fairs, processions, and other festivities held throughout the town of Deoghar. The Shravani Mela is a unique and vibrant festival that showcases the deep-rooted faith and cultural heritage of Bihar.
Teej is one of the most popular festivals celebrated in the Indian state of Bihar. It is a festival of women that signifies the reunion of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The festival is observed in the Hindu month of Shravan, usually falling in August. Married women fast on this day for the longevity of their husbands, while unmarried women fast to seek a suitable partner.
The festival is characterized by vibrant celebrations, including the decoration of hands with intricate henna designs, colorful clothes, traditional songs and dances, and delicious food. The festival is an important part of Bihar’s rich cultural heritage and is celebrated with great enthusiasm across the state.
Pitrapaksha Mela is an annual fair and festival held in the Indian state of Bihar, specifically in the city of Gaya. The festival is celebrated during the Hindu month of Bhadrapada (September-October) and is dedicated to paying homage to one’s ancestors. During Pitrapaksha, Hindus believe that the spirits of their departed ancestors visit the earth and offer their blessings.
The festival is marked by various religious rituals, including offering food and donations to Brahmins and the poor, taking a dip in the sacred river Phalgu, and performing special prayers and pujas. The festival attracts a large number of devotees from all over India who come to Gaya to perform these rituals and seek blessings from their ancestors. The Pitrapaksha Mela is an important part of Bihar’s cultural heritage and is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm by the state’s people.
Diwali, also known as the “Festival of Lights,” is one of the most significant and widely celebrated Hindu festivals in India and across the world. It falls on the Amavasya (new moon) night of the Hindu month of Kartik (October-November) and is celebrated for five days. Diwali signifies the victory of good over evil, light over darkness, and knowledge over ignorance.
The festival is celebrated by lighting lamps, exchanging sweets and gifts, decorating homes and public spaces with lights and rangolis, and bursting fireworks. The celebrations also include performing religious rituals and prayers, visiting relatives and friends, and indulging in delicious traditional foods.
In Bihar, Diwali is celebrated with great joy and enthusiasm, with people lighting diyas and candles, decorating their homes, and preparing special sweets and dishes like anarsa, khaja, and laddoo. The festival brings together people from all communities and is an important part of Bihar’s rich cultural heritage. This is celebrated all over India.