Phool Dei is a festival that showcases the inner bonding between the communities who all are residing in the hills of Kumaon. During the festivity the young girls pluck the first flowers of the season. They not only scatter these flowers in front of their own doorsteps but also at the doorsteps of the other villagers. This is believed that these flowers are the indications of good luck. This is the best part of the festival.
Celebration of Phool Dei
Phool Dei is basically celebrated on the first day of Chaitra or mid March, to mark the welcoming of the spring season. Young people especially girls gather to celebrate the occasion. They are the most enthusiastic participants of the ritual. In some parts of the state however, this festival is like a carnival and goes on throughout the month. Since it is the celebration to mark the onset of spring season, so, Dei- a special pudding is made especially for this interesting and wonderful event which is offered to the visitors. Rice flours are squeezed at first into dough with curd. Then ghee is used to fry it. It is fried for a considerable time. When the item is turned brown the sugar is added.
All young girls in the vicinity congregate and start their journey towards the forests to fetch wild flowers. Once they come back from the forests with the wild flowers they visit the households in the near proximity with the plate which is bedecked with rice, jaggery, coconut, green leaves, flowers and flower petals. It is the time when adolescent girls pray for happiness and prosperity of the households. Doorsteps look majestic and different when girls scatter the flowers and rice. Youthful girls sing the charming song at the time of sprinkling flowers at the doorsteps. They offer their good wishes for the prosperity of the household and are given blessings and presents in return. On this auspicious day, young girls perform all the household duties in their villages with plates full of rice, coconut, green leaves, jaggery and flowers. Together, they create a pleasurable atmosphere which everyone enjoys and appreciates.
They put forward their good wishes for the wellbeing and prosperity of their family and household, and in return they are given presents like sweets, fresh jaggery and sometimes money as well. In some places, even today, they sprinkle auspicious rice and flowers on the doorsteps and sing Rituram, Chaiti to greet the festival of spring:
"Phool Dei, Chamma Dei
Deno Dwar, Bhur Bhakar
Vo Dei Sei Namashkar, Puje Dwar"
Folk singers of the village welcome the astonishing spring with their musical tunes. The drummers, known as bajgi, auli and dholi visit different village courtyards and sing these mellow and soothing songs.