Munsyari Festival, Uttaranchal
About Uttaranchal Festivals
Fairs and festivals for long have been the unique, interesting
feature of the land of India and Uttaranchal is also no exception. In
fact it won't be wrong to say that it's a land of fairs and festival.
Uttaranchal, a land dotted with temples and more temples, has its own fairs and festivals, which are inherent to the culture here and have been passed from one generation to another since centuries. At such auspicious occasions, places of worship like Uttaranchal temples turn into venues of fairs and great celebration attracting people from far and wide. A fair held in the state is not just linked with its cultural identity but is also an important mark of its socio economic fabric. It offers glimpses of all aspects of a culture. A common trend in India and in Uttaranchal therefore is that many festivals come with their attached fairs.
Famous Fairs of Uttaranchal
Jauljibi And Thal Fairs
The fair of Jauljibi (or the Kumaoni festival as it is known) is held here every year in the month of November. The place is also very significant since it is the confluence point of Rivers Kali and Gori. It is also the place of meeting of cultures, Shauka, Nepali and Kumaoni; these three cultures meet at this place. Stressing on the significance of this place in the past and even today is the fact this is the getaway to important places like Johar, Darma, Chaudans and Byans. It was also once the centre point between Tibet and Tarai regions. While the fair is important for its commercial value yet its cultural significance is equally important. It invites visitors from as far as Nepal, who come here to sell horses, ghee and take back food grains and jaggery. A similar kind of fair is organised in Thal on the occasion of Makar Sankranti on the occasion of Vaishakh Sankranti on 14th April every year and is particularly famous with Shaukas.
The Uttarayani Fair
The Uttarayani fair is a very important fair to the cultural and
social fabric of Uttaranchal. It is organised at not one but many
places throughout the land of Uttaranchal - Bageshwar, Rameshwar, Suit
Mahadev, Chitrashila (Ranibagh) and Hanseshwar. However it's Bageshwar
where maximum crowds gather, though all are important from cultural,
social and economic point of view. The fair also is connected with
history, in the past also this fair has played key role, during the
freedom movement. Gandhiji came here in Bageshwar fair in 1929.
Today it's an important commercial center. Items like iron and copper pots, baskets, casks, bamboo articles, mats, mattresses, carpets, blankets, herbs and spices are traded during the fair. Whole night local music and dance festivals are organised here.
Nanda Devi Fair
Nanda Devi is the patron goddess of people of mountains. The Nanda Devi fair is held at many important cities across Uttaranchal like in Almora, Nainital, Kot, Ranikhet, Bhowali, Kichha and on a smaller level in villages of Lohar and in valleys of Pindar. According to the locals, the fair started in Kumaon region during the time of Kalyan Chand in 16th century. The fair is very important and sees visitors from far-flung areas. Rich with folk expression, the Nanda Devi fairs are also important from economical point of view.
Famous Festivals Of Uttaranchal
An important festival in northern India, it marks the beginning of season change. People give alms to the poor on this day and take dips in holy rivers. Uttarayani fair is held around this time. Another locally celebrated autumn festival of Uttaranchal around this time is Ghughutia or Kale Kauva. People make sweetmeats of flour and jaggery and make it in the shape of pomegranates, swords and knives and other such interesting shapes. A necklace is made with these then with an orange in the centre. Little children wear these and go out to attract crows and other birds and offer them pieces from their necklaces.
A popular festival in northern India, Basant Panchmi marks the starting of spring season. It is usually celebrated sometime between mid January to mid February. Yellow is the colour of the day - yellow clothes, yellow flowers, and yellow rice. Goddess Saraswati is worshipped on this day, she is considered to be the goddess of knowledge and so the festival holds special importance for school going children.
The festival is celebrated in the beginning of month of Chaitra according to the Hindu calendar, which comes sometime in mid March. It is mainly a festival of young girls, where in they go from house to house with plates full of rice, jaggery, coconut, green leaves and flowers. These girls give their blessings and wishes for the prosperity of the house and are given presents, jaggery, sweets, and money in return.
Harela and Bhaitauli
This festival is celebrated on first day of navaratri. It's an important Kumaoni festival where women fill baskets with soil and sow seven different kind of seeds in them. On the tenth day, when the seeds have germinated and grown into grasses, they are plucked and put in head and behind the ears. It is during this time that brothers send gifts to their sisters. The presents are called Bhaituali.
The festival is celebrated on the first day of August or Bhado as it is called in the Hindi calendar. This is the time when the fields are full of lush green harvest and the milking animals are very productive. Earlier son in-laws to father and nephews to maternal uncles used to give presents, however now a days it has changed. People eat chapatis with ghee and urad dal (pulse) filled in it. The festival 's popularity has declined over a period of time.
While some say that the festival is celebrated in lieu of victory of king of Kumaon. But the popular belief goes that the festival marks the beginning of autumn season. It's celebrated sometime in mid September, the first day of month of Ashwin according to the Hindu calendar. Bonfires are lighted around which children dance. People offer cucumbers to fire as it is said to destroy all the evils. Special care is taken of animals during this time.
Another popular festival celebrated in entire northern India by married women for the well being of their spouses. The festival is celebrated on the last day of the dark half of the month of Jyeshtha according to Hindu calendar. Women worship Savitri who with her intense devotion brought her husband from death and observe fats. They also worship a holy tree called Bat or Banyan tree.
Ganga Dusshera or Dasar
The festival is celebrated sometime between May and June on the tenth day of the month of Jyeshtha according to Hindu calendar. This is the day of worshipping river Ganga and people take a dip in holy rivers. Many people put up stalls and offer water and food.