The Hareli festival is one of the popular festivals of Chhattisgarh
. The festival is celebrated with great pomp and show. The word `Hareli` is derived from the Hindi word `Haryali` meaning greenery. It is mainly a festival celebrated by the various communities of farmer in the month of Shravan. The celebration of the Hareli festival corresponds with the months of July and August in the Gregorian calendar. The Hareli festival in Chhattisgarh is celebrated on the new moon day of the month or the Sravana Amavasya
. It is an old traditional festival of Chhattisgarh that marks the beginning of Shravan month, the holy month for Hindus. Hareli festival is actually a festival of harvest focusing on the monsoon of a year. The Goddess `Kutki Dai` is the presiding deity worshiped during this festival for good crops.
Hareli festival is of special importance among the Gond tribe
s. During this time the farmers of Chhattisgarh worship their equipments used for farming and cows. The farmers pray for a good harvest and the basic theme of this festival is manly nature centric. The manifestations in rituals are simple, though the prayers are ardent.
During the Hareli festival the people of Chhattisgarh place branches of Bhelwa tree on their respective fields. They also hand branches of Neem tree
on the entrance of their houses. Neem has medicinal properties that prevent diseases as well as insects. The Baiga Tribe
or the traditional medical practitioners of Chhattisgarh teach and appraise their students. The Hareli festival of Chhattisgarh is also marked by playing `Gedi`. It is a play where small children mount on bamboo sticks and walk round the fields. At some places they also take part in a "gedi" race.
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