(Last Updated on : 22/03/2013)
The state of Bihar was recognized as a seat of power in ancient India. It was not only the home of the powerful Maurya Dynasty but it was also the cradle of Buddhism. Festivals and fairs have always been an integral part of the Indian civilization. Festivals of Bihar serve as a good break from the monotony of regular life and inspire us to promote love and brotherhood. Not only that the festivals are also meant to work for the social cause for the upliftment of the society. The state of Bihar also has a long list of celebrations. The festivals of Bihar can be broadly categorized into two kinds, religious festivals and tribal festivals. Both the kinds of festivals have connection with some or the other legend. The festivals of Bihar are in fact characterized by joyous ceremonies, enthusiasm paralleled with ample fun and celebration. The religious festivals of Bihar draw pilgrims from the remotest parts of the country. The tribal festivals showcase the cultural wealth of the state, which can be observed vibrantly in myriad colors and forms. There are some festivals, which are even linked with the lifestyle of the people, change of seasons and harvesting.
The Sun-God is worshipped by almost all civilizations but adopts a unique form in Bihar. During this festival the setting Sun is worshipped with utmost sincerity and devotion. The inhabitants of Bihar have immense faith on this auspicious festival, which is celebrated two times a year once in the month of Chaitra or March, and the other time in which it is celebrated is the month of Kartik, which falls in the month of November. During this festival the locals of Bihar sing folk songs in the honor of Surya Dev and Chatti Maiyya and the harmonious melody of the lyrics lets one immerse in the sanctity and the purity of this auspicious occasion. Besides the Hindus, some of the Muslims also actively participate in the holy ceremony. If we opt for redefining this festival then we can say that it is an expression of seeking blessings from the forces of the nature, thus representing the amalgamation of the Vedic and non-Aryan religion.
This festival is celebrated during the winter season in the district of Mithila of Bihar. It is during the season that the birds from the Himalayas migrate towards the plains and it is with the advent of these colorful birds that the celebration of Sama Chakeva is done. The people of the Mithila region dedicates this festival to the celebration of the brother sister relationship. Different kinds of rites and rituals are performed during this festival and the festive celebrations delightedly end with the vidai of Sama, with a wish that these birds return to this land the next year.
This religious Hindu festival is celebrated in the whole country along with the state of Bihar. This auspicious day is observed to mark the birth of Lord Rama. The people of Bihar celebrate this sacred festival by observing fasts and observing prayers in his honor. In the states of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh early morning rituals marks this sacred ceremony. During this festival the people of Bihar sing and chant the name of Lord Rama. The devotees indeed have a highly colorful ceremony to mark the beginning of the wedding celebrations.
The celebration of Diwali in the state of Bihar starts two days before the actual Diwali, celebrated in honor of Dhanvantari also known as the physician of Gods. The day just before the Actual Diwali is known as Choti Diwali or Small Diwali. Songs in honor of the deities, the performance of Arti, lighting of lights or oil/ghee diyas, bursting of crackers characterize the festival of Diwali. Tiny footprints of the Goddess of Wealth, Mother Lakshmi are a special feature of the Rangolis made for this auspicious ceremony. The tribal people of the state worship Goddess Kali on this day.
The festival of Holi is celebrated with great fervor and charm in Bihar. The legend of Holika is prevalent here. Lots of color and frolic marks the festive celebration in this state. Both the old and the young take equal delight in this festival. Live performances of folk songs and dance to the melodious lyrics of Holi form the spirit of this colorful festival. The intoxicating drink known as bhang along with a variety of sumptuous delicacies enhances both the mood and spirit of this festival.
Nag Panchami Festival
Nag Panchami is also known as the Festival of Snakes. This festival is celebrated during the monsoon season, on the fifth day of the brilliant fortnight in the month of Shravan. It s considered to oppose the increased possibility of snakebite during this time. Pilgrims and tourists from all the over the nation visits the temples of Bihar during this festival of Nag Panchami. The temples dedicated to Lord Shiva are also considered preferential places for reverence, as snakes are dear to Lord Shiva.
This festival is celebrated in the month of Sawan or in the month of August in the Mithilanchal of Bihar with much exuberance and veneration. This festival of Bihar carries a special message with itself and teaches how to blend together both religion and tradition in regular life.
The festival of Bihula is a very prominent one in Eastern Bihar. It is especially famous all over the Bhagalpur district. This widely popular festival has a lot of myths surrounding it. The people of this region pray to Goddess Mansa for the welfare and well being of their family, relatives and friends.
The Muslim festivals in Bihar are celebrated with equal pomp and show and all the communities take the same interest in these festive celebrations as well. The chief Muslim festivals in Bihar are the Muharram, the two Ids, and Shah-I-Bharat.