Santal Festivals | Where People bring joy to Nature.

If we talk about festivals, Santhals have mainly two festival which flaunts its rich culture. The first is: Sohrai and other is: Baha . These festivals are either related to nature or agriculture. The celebrations of these festival extends over number of days and include folk dance,  which are accompanied by respective folks songs and music of Tamak, Tumda or Traditional Musical Instrument.  Before the  festival, Women starts brewing rice beer, which are first offered to their Bongas/Ancestors and later consumed by all, men and women alike. Also, on the day of festival simple yet tasty tribal delicacies are made to be later enjoyed by all .



Since Santhals are agricultural tribe, so their way of life and ritual/worshiping resembles to the cycle or stages of agriculture like Crop Harvesting which they mostly do. And thus they have number of worshiping that they seek to do in order to achieve good harvest.  Let’s talk about each festivity respectively.


1.Baha
Baha Festival

Baha is a Spring Festival, a festive of joy that welcomes flowing breeze of change in nature, blossoming of new flower, growing of new leaves. Santhals find it as the symbol of life in this lovely earth. The celebration takes place in JaherThan following the conveying of village priest from his house to Jaherthan wtih dancing and singing folks Song.  The men and women dress in interesting traditional costume adoring flower of Sal tree on their head  to perform folk dance round within the Jaherthan whereas the village priest offers thanksgiving sacrifice to God/bonga namely Marangburu, Jaherayo and other. Baha in Santhali means for : flower.
The celebration ends at Akhra where people gather after conveying village priest back to his home. If you are interested to know more about Baha festival, consider clicking here.


2.Sohray

Khuntaw(Bull fight) left, Santhal woman after worshipping cows(Right).


Sohray being the agricultural festival , it is the second most important one to Santal. It is the time when Santal celebrate their harvest. The celebration extends for 2-3 days, the first day cows and bulls are bathed and are worshiped, thanked for being their companion throughout the year. The celebration is associated with the bulls specially, and hence on the last day ‘Bull Fight’ is organised which is enjoyed by all villagers and afterwards they gather at Akhra, enjoy folk dance with loud humping sounds of drums with other traditional music instrument accompanying it, have fun having rice beer . And the celebration continues whole night. This just a little bit of Sohray we told you, to read full story click here .


Q .Ever wondered ! Why Santhal community is not very particular about celebrating festival on any particular date ? A. Let us help you, Santhal lives community lifestyle, so people in a village decide when they should fix a day for celebration taking care of any sickness,birth or death ritual or marriage ceremony oncoming, all because they have to it enjoy together. 


3. Erok Bonga




Erok bonga is one of the first bonga of Santals which all villagers collectively offers their prayers to Marangburu before seed sowing. This event takes place on beginning of rainy season between July- August. During this event, Villagers along with village officials and village priest gather at one place and perform rituals. During the ‘Erok bong’ ritual of sacrificing hen is performed and they seek Marangburu to bless their field and seed, and also to protect their bulls, cows and them from any disease.


4.Hariar Bonga


Hariar Bonga, it is observed after Erok Bonga, when seeds sown by them starts growing up into shoots and make the surroundings filled with greeneries. Santal village, during this time thanks their God Marangburu for this richness around them and also seeks his blessing for healthy growth of harvest and provide proper rain to their field. Read More...


5.Jantar Bonga



Jantar Bonga marks the growing up of panicles. During this time, a proper amount of water is needed to the field. Santals find it as opportunity to thank Marangburu for this successive growth of rice seeds. They pray Marangburu to keep away all diseases from field and village. After this bonga , when panicles got ripen completely , it is the month of mid of November when Santhals celebrates it as harvest festival . Read More..


6. Sakrat 




Sakarat or Makar Sakranti, though it is not a Tribal festival but it is observed by Santal also and celebrated it with very cheerfully. It is a post-harvest festival. During this the Santhal delicacies like ‘Jil Pitha’ is made and Rice beer is brew. Santals takes this moment as a relief of joy after having a continuous work done for about 4 months . So basically it is a time for them to relax and enjoy tradition food .

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