Phaggu is a festival which is observed towards the end of February or the beginning of March. On the evening previous to the feast, a young castor (Palma christi) plant and a semar (Bombax malabaricum) branch are planted in an open place. After that hen, arwa rice, handia(rice made wine) are taken to that place to be offered and then arwa rice is fed to the hen. Soon after, the hen is sacrificed and cooked there. The whole process is done by Naigas,
who after mutilating the hen cooks it and then offers roti(Chapatti). Rice and cooked hens are given to children while adults are supposed to drink handia. Women are prohibited from participating in these sacerd performances. After whole ritual performances, around sacred trees some hay, firewood and dry leaves are heaped. The village priest sets fire to the hay. When fire burns at its brightest the young castor shrub is cut into pieces with an axe. Immediately the young boys of the village light torches from the bonfire and throw the burning torches at fruit trees, saying, ‘Be loaded with good fruit’.
The most important festival for the Oroans and tribals of Chotanagpur is Sarhul. It is also known as a harvest festival, is marked to welcome new year for tribals. The festival is celebrated at the begning of spring in the month of April, when sal trees becomes greener and blossoms with its flower, called the Shalony or Shalai; the symbolic flower of Sarhul. Different tribes have different ways of celebrating this festival, but each one worships the spirit of the Sal tree to seek its blessings for a good harvest. The festival holds a great significance for the tribals. The festival is very popular for its festive mood. The whole region is highly charged with full pump, dance and song, food and drinks.Sarhul — a combination of Mundari words sarai (flower) and hul (bouquet) — means a bouquet of summer-blooming flowers. As the name suggests, the tribals worship trees and flowers that decorate mother Earth. These shaal flowers represents the brotherhood and friendship, which the tribal priest distribute in every house of the village. The village deity who is supposed to be the protector of the Adivasis is worshipped in the sacred grove with this flower. Unless the deities of the village are pleased on them they can not be safe and prosperous.
To observe the festival, the tribals, decked up in colourful clothes and carrying Sal leaves, organised a procession in villages and cities. To make the procession a success, a youth brigade has been formed. The path along the procession has been covered with sarna flags and special puja has been performed at the sarna sthal on the eve of the procession. Huge arch gates have come up along the procession route, courtesy of certain organisations.
Several programmes are organised on the eve of Sarhul.
Karma is the second main festival of Oroans. Karma festival celebrated by the other tribals also, mainly in Jharkhan, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and West Bengal state of India. It is celebrated, when the rice is ready for planting out, It comes after the Agriculture operation of Kharif is completed, generally celebrated on the month of September and as the Kanihari or harvest celebration. After the completion of the agriculture operations, the community prays to God named "Karma Dev" for the bumper harvest. It also signifies a celebration after the hard labour they have gone through the agricultural operations.
At the Karma Festival a party of young boys and girls went to the forest and cut a young Karma tree(Nauclea parvifolia) or a branch of that tree, which symbolizes fertility and they bring this home in triumph and plant it in the middle of an open ground or Akhra and young boys and girls spent the whole festival night singing and dancing around it. Next morning all they may be seen at an early hour in rejoicing mood. Elders gathered under the fine old tamarind trees that surround the Akhra, and the boys and girls, arm-linked in a huge circle, dancing round the karma tree, which, decked with garlands, decorated with strips of colored cloth and sham bracelets and necklets of plaited straw, and with the bright faces and merry laughter of the young people encircling it, reminds one of the gift-bearing tree so often introduced at our own great festival. Festival celebrates the renewal of vegetation". Accompanied by song, drums and flutes they dance round and round. Planting of Karma saplings is an essential part of the dace ritual. The songs sung on this occasion narrate the legends of Karma and Dharma. The Karma dance is associated with fertility.
Devotees fast from morning
till the next day – a good 24 hours on the day of worship. Young boys and
girls dance together and the girls offer to the boys sprouted barley seeds.
Java and wheat is germinated a few days earlier and the small plants are put
in a small bamboo basket and placed before the branch of the Karam Tree.
This branch represents Karam Deo. A lamp is lit and placed before Karam Deo.
There are some stories behind scared performances. Karma and Dharma are two brothers. Once their father asked who among them is greater. On being asked this Karma started worshipping Karma the tree of Karma and started farming and Dharma kept busy himself in doing something else. Finally Karma became richer than Dharma. Therefore this scared performance is celebrated. One another story privilege among Kurukhs " Long ago, there were seven brothers of a family, destroyed the Karma tree and thrown out the village. Karm Dev became very angry with them. After few day they suffered from some kinds of skin disease. They were understood, why those disease came to their home. They had decided to bring a branch of Karm tree and plant it in front of home. One brother went far from the seven sea and brought a branch of Karam tree. They planted it and started worship regularly. Soon, their all disease gone from their bodies and they became healthy.
There are various types of Karam festivals are also celebrated by the Oroans. Main Karma is Dasay Karama, another Karama festivals are Jitya Karama, Kotta Karama, Chali Karama, Rashka Karama, Luchki Karama, Udaypuriya Karama, Gangpuriya Karama, Renja Karama, Lahsuwa Karama, Kesalpuriya Karama, Birinjya Karama, Adjho Karama, Thapdi Karama, Thadia Karama, Bharni Karama and Chatawa Karama. Chali Karama is divided in Pata Karama, Bariyo Karama, Pairi Karama and Riyori Karama.
|4.The Harvest Festival|
Kanihari, as described by Father Dehon, is held previous to the threshing
of the rice, and none is allowed to prepare his threshing-floor until it
has been celebrated. It can only take place on a Tuesday. A fowl is
sacrificed and its blood sprinkled on the new rice. In the evening a
common feast is held at which the
Naigas presides, and when this is over
they go to the place where Mahadeo is worshipped and the Baiga pours milk
over the stone that represents him. The people then dance. Plenty of
rice-beer is brought, and a scene of debauchery takes place in which all
restraint is put aside. They sing the most obscene songs and give vent to
all their passions. On that day no one is responsible for any breach of
5. Fast For The Crops.
other primitive races, and the Hindus generally, the Oraons observe the
Lenten fast, as explained by Sir J. G. Frazer, after sowing their crops.
Having committed his seed with every propitiatory rite to the bosom of
Mother Earth, the savage waits with anxious expectation to see whether she
will once again perform on his behalf the yearly miracle of the renewal of
vegetation, and the growth of the corn-plants from the seed which the
Greeks typified by the descent of Persephone into Hades for a season of
the year and her triumphant re-emergence to the upper air. Meanwhile he
fasts and atones for any sin or shortcoming of his which may possibly have
offended the goddess and cause her to hold her hand. From the beginning of
Asarh (June) the Oraons cease to shave, abstain from eating
turmeric, and make no leaf-plates for their food, but eat it straight from
the cooking-vessel. This they now say is to prevent the field-mice from
consuming the seeds of the rice.