(Last Updated on : 08/01/2010)
The chilling snow, the beautiful mountains and the scenic beauty in the villages of Uttarakhand attract numerous tourists from all over India every year. The simple lifestyle of the villagers and their wonderful way of celebrating festivals are some of the major features of the villages. The villages are also considered lifeline for Uttarakhand as they are the base of the state`s agricultural, economical and industrial strength.
Celebration of various fairs and festivals is an integral part of society in the villages of Uttarakhand. People from different religious beliefs celebrate their respective fairs and festivals throughout the year and apart from the religious festivals, there are a few regional festivals celebrated as well. The major religious festivals celebrated in the villages of Uttarakhand include Basant Panchami, Bhitauli, Phool Dei, Makar Sankranti, Olgia/Ghee Sankranti, Khatarua, Bat Savitri, Ganga Dussehra/Dasar, Hill Yatra, Chhipla Jaat, Kandali, Nandadevi festival, Janopunya, Kumaon Holi, etc. On the other hand, the major festivals of Garhwal region are Hatkalika Fair, Tapkeshwar Fair, Surkhanda Devi Mela, Kunjapuri Fair, Lakhawar Village Fair, Mata Murti Ka Mela, etc. People in the Kumaon region celebrate the major festivals like Uttarayani Mela, Shravan Mela (Jageshwar), Kartik Poornima, Kasar Devi fair, etc. round the year.
Different forms of folk music and dance are performed by the rural people in Uttarakhand during the fairs and festivals. The villagers perform these as part of celebrating the festivals. The famous folk dances performed in the villages of Kumaon region in Uttarakhand include Ramola, Chapeli, Chancheri, Jhora, Choliya Dance, Thali, Jaddu, Jhainta, etc. The popular folk dance forms in the Garhwal region are Langvir Nritya, Barada Nati, Pandava Nritya, Shotiya, etc. Apart from these, the Bhotia tribes also perform their traditional dance form called Bhotia Dance. The villagers also perform various forms of folk songs during the festivals including Chhopati, Basanti, Mangal, Jagars, Bajuband, Khuded, Chhura, etc. The songs are often accompanied by the musical instruments like Dhol (Drum), Damua (a smaller drum), Hurka, Thall, etc.