Sarhul, the grand festival of tribals in Jharkhand and Orissa. This festival is celebrated on Chaitra Shukla Tritiya, the third day of bright half in Chaitra month. In 2016, Sarhul date is April 9.
Sify published an article about the celebrations of Sarhul festival in Ranchi.
Tribals in Ranchi on Thursday celebrated ‘Sarhul’, a festival marking the beginning of New Year, by worshipping trees. This annual festival is celebrated during the spring season when trees and other elements of nature are worshiped. The festival is celebrated on the third day of the moon fortnight of ‘chaitra’, first month as per the Hindu calendar, every year. Jharkhand Chief Minister Shibu Soren also marked his presence at the festival celebrations and gave good wishes to entire tribal community on this occasion. “All the tribals and people living in Jharkhand celebrate this festival with huge fervor and joy. We worship the tree and rituals are also performed under the sakhua tree. The festival celebrations have also started in small villages. People offer prayers, sing, dance, eat and drink on this day,” Soren said.
‘Sahrul’ is also an occasion for sowing seeds and indulging in festivities. Tribals believe that they can use new crop mainly paddy, leaves of the trees, flowers and fruits of the season only after this festival is celebrated. “From this day only, we start sowing of seeds. From this ‘chaitra’ (first month in Hindu calendar) month only, we believe our New Year has started. And until the prayers are offered on this day, we don’t use new flower and leaves and do not eat fruits. Today after performing prayers and worshipping the tree, we will use flowers and leaves and eat fruits,” said Amit Bara, a local.
After worshiping trees, the village priest locally known as Pahaan puts a few rice grains on the head of a hen. Locals believe that prosperity for the people is predicted if the hen eats the rice grains after they fall to the ground, but if the hen does not eat, disaster awaits the community. ribes all across Jharkhand celebrate this festival with great fervor and joy.
Tribal men, women and children dress up in colourful and ethnic attires and perform traditional dances. In recent years a colourful procession, with tribal men and women dancing in groups and holding tree branches has also become part of the Sarhul festival. They also drink a locally made beer, brewed out of a concoction of rice, water and some tree leaves and then dance around the tree.