Baha Festival

BAHA’ is  second great and holy festival in SANTAL Tribal. This is performed in the month of phagun (Feb-March) after full moon has cut down by its halfway. This is the time when year changes - past year gone and the New Year knocks. The flowers of Sal, Mahua,Ichak and Murut blossoms.

One shouldn’t taste these flowers before Baha. If anybody dose then,the Naike(Priest) of the village boycotts his
family and do not take/give any food or drink in that particular family until the Baha festival has been performed .
The day when Baha begins boys of the village make two huts in the premises of Jaher, one is for Jaher era, Moreko and for Marang buru and the second one is for Gosae era. Naike polishes then, the ground of two huts with a little amount of cow dung and then he and the boys who made huts go for a bath. After that boys come to the home of Naike. Naike serve then with drink and food. After then, boys move to the local jungle for hunting. After taking food Naike cleanses some holy materials related to the Bongas with water and after he oils those materials with mithi and mustard oil. In the meantime boys returns from hunting.

Then Gudhit (the messenger) brings three hens to Naike. These are called the hens of Naike. Boys beats drums and play sakwas from the beginning of evening. Then three performers as Jaher era , Moreku and Marang buru do their jobs . Jaher era puts a chain around his neck, put a basket on his head and holds a brush, Moreku holds bow and arrows and Marang buru hands a sword or pharsa. With these things they all rush to the holy jaher accompanied by the boys of village. Jaher era then, washes the huts. After performing these rituals everyone returns to their home.
Now, Naike take back all materials related to the Bongas and then offer all to take seats on the country made mats. Here he supplies some rice to the boys and asks some goodwill questions. Then, he now asks Bongas to clarify whether they are ready to see the wellness of the society or not . Bongas reply," we are ready to see the wellness of the society."

Then ,Naike washes feet of Jaher era, then Moreku's and at the end of Marang buru's. The rest of water is poured upon them and when it finishes they jumps upwardly and shouts loudly. After this Jaher era starts washing feet firstly of Moreku, then of Marang buru and after these he washes feet of naike and his wife, then of Manjhi, paranik , drummer and musician's. After this they all shouts loudly. Then, Naike take back utensils which were used for washing feet and offer drinks and food to all who are present there.
After all these rituals singing and dancing starts. And this goes through whole night . Only holy songs are sung . Naike and his wife sleeps on mat and this is for holy purposes.
Next morning Naike's wife take bath and then, she grinds some rice. In the meantime Gudet (the messenger) goes door to door takes one hen and a little amount of rice, salt and turmeric from each family.

Naike, after collecting all materials such as holy chain, sakwa, oil , mithi, and some newly made bamboo utensils move to Jaher with some unmarried boys. Young boys and girls follow them singing and dancing.
Naike bathes and then he polishes the grounds of Bonga's premises . Then bongas take their holy materials such as bow and arrows, pharsa etc. and speeds away to jungle followed by the village boys. After selecting a sal tree full with flowers Moreku targets those flowers with his arrows , then Marang buru climbs on that tree and cut down some flowers. Marang buru collects some Mahua flowers from ground. They all now come to Jaher with all flowers and equipment . Naike receives them.

Now Naike asks them to sit under the roof of the huts on mat. Then he sacrifices all hens in front of them and speak some mantras in the name of Baha. After doing all these he put a small bunch of flowers of sal and places before each bonga and he also places a piece of mahua flower to every bonga. Doing this all now starts singing .
                                                                    Now, Naike asks bongas to receive things which are placed before them and then he sides himself. Now bongas sucks the blood of hens. Then Naike washes feet of bongas. Now, Jaher era washes feet of Naike and in return he washes the feet of Jaher era too and then they pour water to each other . Now dancing girls asks for sal flowers from Naeke and starts singing.

All boys and girls take flowers from Naike and johar him. Then all boys and girls returns to the village singing and dancing.
Naike take his part. His share is one reddish hen. He mix its pieces whit rice and cook it to eat by himself with his wife only. Rest is taken by all. Then, Naike proceeds towards his village with flower in a bamboo flat basket and water filled metallic jug and the remaining flower is carried by a village boy . Rest is carried by other boys.
Naike reaches every doorstep of his village. His feet are washed by girls of each home. Then, Naike gives them flowers and pours water on them. After performing this ritual naike returns to his home, pours water on his roof , then enters inside. people follow him and enters his home . Naike serves them some home made wine. Water festival Baha now starts in the village and everyone exchanges water. Boys and girls dances all day.Then reach Naike's home until dusk and then move towards the home of Headman( Manjhi haram) . Then they dances Lagre ( a type of Santhali folk dance). Protection Status