Culture

Festivals

Mithila celebrates its scores of religious festivals and fairs of great local fervor. Each festival is unique in style and is characterised by colour, gaiety, enthusiasm, feasts and heterogeneity of prayers and rituals. Need not to mention traditional Indian festivals like Ramnavami, Dassehra, Diwali and Holi are also feted with great extravaganza in Mithila.

Tila Sankranti (Mid January)
Maghé Sankranti is the first day of the month of Magh. Magh is a sacred month so the first day is celebrated with a feast at home that particularly constitute of til and brown sugar. Lord Vishnu the Preserver is worshipped and thanked for the return of the warm season once more. Through the month of Magh, people busy themselves with religious activities such as taking an early morning bath in holy rivers, visiting the shrines of Vishnu and offering flowers, incense and food, and reading the Bhagavad Gita.

Basanta Panchami & Saraswati Puja (February)
Both festivals occur on the same day. This is the day that ushers in the spring season. Basanta Panchami is celebrated as beginning of autumn season. In Saraswati puja   day goddess of knowledge is worshipped. Many students fast on this day and eat only one meal of pure vegetarian dishes to prove their devotion.

Maha Shivaratri (February)
Maha Shivaratri, or the Great Night of Lord Shiva, is observed in honor of Lord Shiva’s day of birth. A great fair takes place at the Pashupatinath Temple as thousands of pilgrims from all parts of Nepal and India congregate in celebration.

Holi or Fagu-wa (March)
This is a colorful occasion when people smear each other with colored powder and splash water balloons onto one another and youths love to play. This continues for one full week. The fever of this game goes very high on the full moon day which is the last day of celebration. In  this day people exchange greeting as offer various sweets.

Ramnawami (March)
Ramnawami a big day for Hindu is celebrated in honor of the great Hindu King Rama on the 9th day of bright fortnight of chaitra (March). But the main deity to be worshipped on this occasion is the all powerful mother goddess Durga, the wife of Lord Shiva, the presiding deity of the Hindu pantheon because as and the holy Hindu scriptures say Rama was a great devotee of Durga her blessings enabled Rama to kill his arch enemy, Ravana, the most dreaded demon king on this day. This day is symbolically commemorated as the victory of virtue over vice.

Nag Panchami (July/August)
In Hinduism, Nag (the divine serpent) is glorified as the provider of rain. Nag is worshipped to provide a good harvest during the monsoon season, and Nag Panchami, the fifth day of the bright lunar fortnight, is set aside for worshipping serpents. Devotees on this day paste pictures of Nag over their doorways with cow-dung. As part of the rituals to propitiate the divine serpents, milk, their favorite drink is offered to the pictures. Failure to appease them may invite droughts and disaster in the days ahead.

Devotees also teats sour food at early morning.

Janau Purnima, Rishi Tarpani (July/August)
On this day, Brahmins (The priestly class) and Rajput  have their annual ritual of changing their sacred thread called the janau. This is also the day for Raksya Bandhan (a safety thread bon). Most prefer their Brahmin priests to put it around their wrists with the chanting of mantra (holy hymns).

Rishi Tarpani is the day to pay ablution to Rishis, as the hermits practicing self-denial are known. The full moon day thus sees hordes of Hindu priests with their clean-shaven heads taking dips in the holy water to purify their bodies before they get on with their business of offering sacred yellow threads to their clients.

Krishna Ashthami (August)
The birth anniversary of Lord Krishna, the eighth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, is one of the greatest Hindu festivals for the Hindus of Nepal. Krishna’s exploits as a child when he subdued fierce demons and performed miraculous feats specially endear him to his devotees. In his boyhood, Krishna killed the evil king Kansa, his maternal uncle, to liberate the people from his atrocities. During the 18-day war depicted in the great Hindu epic Mahabharat, Krishna served as the de facto commander and strategist for the righteous Pandavas.

Teej (August/September)
Teej is essentially a women’s festival.It is believed that on this day goddess Parvati was united with Lord Shiva after a penance of a hundred years.The invocation of Parvati’s blessings on this day results in continued marital bliss.Henna is decorated on the palms of hands of women.It is a popular belief that the intensity of a man’s love for his wife can be gauged from the color of henna on the wife’s palm.Lord Shiva and his wife Parvati are worshipped by married women who keep a 24-hour fast for the long life of their husband.

Chaurchan (September)
Its mean the fourth day moon of August cosidered as a day sacred to Ganesha, The elephant headed god of good luck. People celebrate this day offering various seasonal fruits and flowers to all powerful Ganesha and pray for protection from unnecessary evils.

Madhusravani
Madhusravani is a great occasion for the newly married couples of Mithila. A lot of rituals are associated with it. Several folksongs are sung by the women and friends of the newly married brides. The entire ritual is performed by females.

These folksongs highlight the spiritual significance, prayer to the god, vegetation, animals, creatures, etc. and also love, emotion, sentiments and culture of the people in totality. Folksongs explain the history, sentiments, meaning, philosophy and tradition of celebrating Madhusravani every year in the area. It also shows the independent status of women in Mithila.

Sama-Chakeva
It is during the winter season that the birds from the Himalayas migrate towards the plains. With the advent of these colorful birds, celebration of sama–chakeva is done. This is a festival especially celebrated in mithila. Mithilanchal dedicates this festival to the celebration of the brother sister relationship. It represents the tradition of this land as well as the art of making idols. This festival starts with the welcoming of the pair of birds sama-chakeva. Girls make clay idols of various birds and decorate them in their own traditional ways. Various rituals are performed and the festival joyfully ended with the ‘vidai’ of Sama and with a wish that these birds return to this land the next year.

Buddha-Purnima (April/May)
The Buddha is regarded as the ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu.Buddha was born, attained enlightenment and passed away, all on the same full moon day of April/May. The day falls in the Vaishakh month according to the Indian solar calendar.Thus, Vaisakhi Poornima, one of the most beautiful full moon nights in the year, is celebrated as Buddha Jayanthi. On this day the Buddhists wear only white clothes,spend their entire day at the vihara and also reaffirm their faith in the five principles called Panchsheel—not to take life, not to steal, not to lie, not to imbibe liquor or other intoxicants, and not to commit adultery. Bodh Gaya is the main centers of celebration of this festival in Bihar.

Chhath Puja  (Oct-Nov)
Chhatha Puja in Mithila
Observed mostly by the people of North Bihar, it is dedicated to the worship of the Sun God and therefore, is also known as ‘SuryaShashti’. Chhath is considered a means to thank the Sun for bestowing the bounties of life on earth and also for fulfilling particular wishes. It comes a week after Diwali as the word ‘Chhath’ denotes the number ‘six’ and thus the festival begins on the sixth day of the Hindu month of ‘Kartik’ as per the Hindu lunar calendar.

A fast is observed during the day and in the evening offerings are made to the setting sun. The people of Bihar practically live on the banks of the river Ganga when a ritual offering is made to the Sun God.

Chhath is a very colorful festival and new clothes are a must for the devotees.A popular belife about Chhath is that all the desires of the devotees are always fulfilled during Chhath. Also, an element of fear is present among the devotees who dread the punishment for any misdeed during Chhath.

Madhu Shravani of Mithila
The art of Mithila is also linked to religious ceremonies, particularly marriage and its consequence, procreation in Bihar.The women of Mithila are largely illiterate and these exquisite paintings created for ritual ocassions are a means of their cultural expression.

Pitripaksh Fare
Pitripaksh Fare is celebrated in Gaya.

Sawan Kanwar Festival
(Pilgrims takes Ganges water from Sultanganj & make Water oblutions on Lord SHIVA at DEOGARH).

Sharwani Fare
SHRAWANI FARE from Sultanganj to Deogarh.

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