Baha Parab: A spectacle of Tribal unity and celebration

Prameyanews English

Published By : Prameya News Bureau | May 07, 2024 IST

Bratati Baral

During the lunar month of Falguna, Santhali villages come alive with the festivities of Baha Parav, the second biggest festival for Santhal, Ho, and Munda tribes. People sing, dance, and enjoy rice beer, while the sound of Dhumsa drums fills the air.

In this month, the villages are adorned with various flowers like Mahua, Palash, Simul, Mango, Saal, and more, adding to the beauty of nature. Baha means flower in Santhali language, and this festival is highly reverred among the tribes.

Sixty-year-old Nagen Bag, a resident of Goudrama, Kuliana of Mayurbhanj district says, “The festival marks the arrival of spring when trees like Mahua, Peepal, Mango, Palash, Neem, and Sal bear new leaves, flowers, or fruits. Tribals believe it's essential to let the trees grow during this time and refrain from plucking or touching them. Women also avoid using Sal leaves for decorating their hair."

“During Baha Parab, only white animals are used for sacrifice, and breaking this rule leads to exclusion from the village priest's visit, who is an important figure during the festival. The main ceremony takes place at a spot called 'Jahira,' where the entire community gathers for worship led by the village priest or 'Naike.' A special Khichuri (made of rice and dal) dish is offered to the deity, and then shared among villagers. After the puja, the priest visits every house, offering Saal flowers to be worn by everyone. These flowers are then kept on the roofs, marking the end of the festival and allowing people to sing, dance, and enjoy rice beer”, adds Bag.

Sukhram Murmu, a village resident, explains that Baha Parab is eagerly awaited by everyone, young and old alike. People dress in new clothes, dance, and enjoy traditional food. The festival concludes with the sacrifice of a white animal, followed by a communal meal for men only. Despite modern influences, tribal communities remain deeply connected to nature, upon which they rely for their livelihood. Tribal children participate in these festivals with their families, preserving their cultural heritage for generations to come.

 


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