(Last Updated on : 30/03/2017)
The Chaitra Parva or the Chhau Festival is a major festival for the people of Odisha
. It is examined by the Bhuiyans Tribe
in many regions of Odisha, particularly in Koraput
, where the festival is celebrated with utmost fervor. The Chaitra Parva continues for three days concluding on 'Mahavisuba Sankranti Day' at Baripada
. It is the most significant festival attached to "Mayurbhanj Chhau
". It is observed for three days prior to "Mahavisuba Sankranti". It generally falls on 13th or 14th in the month of April every year.
During the royal regime, the festival was observed in the capital of princely states of Mayurbhanj
and after merger of Odisha, the district headquarter Baripada of the district of Mayurbhani has become the place for its observation.
History of Chaitra Parba
In its early years it was conceived to be a religious festival but with the pace of time it has been converted into an art festival with religious fervor. It is observed for days together continuously with 'Shaivite
' Ceremonies and rituals during the daytime where as Chhau
Dance is performed in the night.
Till the period of Maharaja 'Krushna Chandra Bhanj Deo' (1882) Chhau was not attached to Chaitra Parva. After introduction of Chhau in Mayurbhanj the dance was attached to the Parva subsequently. During the royal administration, the prime objective of the festival was to invoke and propitiate Lord Shiva
through Shaivite Ceremonies for prosperity of the kingdom and the king. It is believed that if Lord Shiva is invoked during the month of Chaitra it would bring welfare for the community and the individual. It is believed that the rituals and penances undertaken to appease God need to be observed in most perfect manner otherwise an opposite disastrous effect may be obtained. On behalf of the people those who can adhere to strict discipline and undertake penance to propitiate Gods for the benefit of the people and community are authorized to do such activities. They are called "Bhaktas". Accordingly the Maharajas of Mayurbhanj authorized the Bhaktas to pray and propitiate Lord Shiva in the month of Chaitra for prospects of the kingdom and the King. The occasion during which such Shaivite Ceremonies are performed is called Chaitra Parva.
Celebration of Chaitra Parba
The carnival involves singing, dancing, drinking and hunting. The tribal people wear new clothes and treat into merriment. People worship Lord Shiva and execute the Saivite (Shiva centric) ceremonies. They also make sacrifices of birds and animals before God. Chhau Dance, which is performed during the night, got connected to the Chaitra Parva Festival only after its opening in the Mayurbhanj state.