Festivals are almost synonymous with revellers; however, the traditional festivals which are observed since ages have deeper meanings of bonding with nature which are indeed thought provoking. The promotion of the festivals is given much initiative by the Bihar Government as an important tool to develop the socio-economic scenario by creating financial opportunities and rendering harmony in this multi communal society.
The major religious festivals of Bihar most of the time revolve around Nature as the deity to be worshipped. In the Chatt Puja the ‘Setting Sun’ is worshipped by all the Bihari devotees living in any part of the world. Although Sun had been worshipped as a god by most of the civilizations the worship of the Setting Sun by the Bihar is gives it a special unique feature. Celebrated twice a year in Chaitra and Kartik months of the Hindu calendar, the rituals to be performed near any water bodies make the rivers, lakes and the ponds of Bihar a colourful panorama. The Deo Sun temple is most revered amongst numerous Sun temples around rivers and tanks believed to be sacred and visited by scores of devotees. Through the passage of time, people from other religious beliefs also have started to participate in the festival giving it a true secular flavour.
Another popular festival of Bihar, Sama-Chakeva also connects with nature as it offers prayers to the migrating birds visiting here from the Himalayan region. This festival is especially popular in Mithila region of the state. Girls make various decorative clay images of these birds and perform rituals and at the end the ceremony of ‘vidai’ (farewell) is celebrated wishing the return of the birds for the next year.
The day that is believed to be the beginning of the summer season is celebrated as Makar Sankranti as all Hindu devotees observe this day as a sacred day. In Bihar it is also known as Tila Sankranti which falls around mid January and sweets and food are distributed.
Madhushravani is another seasonal festival that celebrates the monsoon. This month long festival is observed by Hindus in other states of India as well. Celebrated around August, the believers of Sthe god Shiva travel carrying water from sacred water bodies to offer to the Shivlings for fulfilment of their wishes. Most of the Hindus from Bihar are believers of Ram the legendary hero from the epic Ramayana. His birthday Ramnavami is celebrated with great fervour and the lights of this auspicious day brightens all the dark corners.
The worshipping of the serpent Goddess Mansa is celebrated as Bihula in Bihar. The mythical tale of Bihula and Lakhindar is read out at this occasion and snakes are worshipped and fed by the devotees. This ritual indirectly teaches to respect and love the animal which is one of the most dangerous threats to human lives.
The Urs is celebrated in the muslim populated areas where usually there are holy mosques and pilgrimages like in Munger’s Rahmani Khanka, Bihar Sharif’s Ibrahim Baya Mukbara. Other festivals like Basant Panchami, Shivratri, Raksha Bandhan, Holi, Durga Puja, Deepawali, Id, Bakrid, Christmas and many more are celebrated in big or small ways with zest and devoutness.
Bihar Government initiated Festivals and Fairs:
The Bihar Tourism Department takes active part in promoting about 22 festivals in the State. Amongst those the few very popular ones are:
Buddha Festival: Organised at Bodhgaya, the World Heritage site to commemorate the occasion of the Buddha’s enlightenment. This festival is the true international festival of Bihar and tourists, scholars, delegates from all over the world congregate to salute the pioneering message of peace to bring equilibrium in human life.
Sonepur Festival: This cattle festival evolved around the transactions of the animals starts on the full moon day of Kartik month of Hindu calendar and is a month long affair. It is acclaimed as the biggest cattle fairs of the world and a massive crowd gatherer.
Rajgir Festival: This is organised to celebrate the cultural and historical importance of the ancient valley city Rajgir. The beautiful city with the panoramic landscape becomes a hotspot as multicultural tourist destination during this festival.
Vaishali Festival: The auspicious birthday of the 24th Tirthankara of Jains observed in Vaishali at the occasion of Mahavir Jayanti. Bihar Divas Day: 22nd March is celebrated with a great pomp to commemorate the formation day of the State.
Kako Festival: The State promoted Sufi festival at Kako in the district of Jehanabad is becoming popular amongst tourists. It is celebrated on the occasion of Urs at Hazrat Kamal Saheb Bibi's mausoleum.
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