Sarhul is a famous festival celebrated by various tribes in the Jharkhand region. The festival is the tribal New Year and is celebrated by the Munda, Oraon, Ho, etc., tribes of Jharkhand. Sarhul word means to worship trees or worship the sal tree. As the tribal people are closer to nature, they begin the Sarhul festival by worshipping elements of nature, including trees. After this festival, most of the agricultural activities, such as the sowing of seeds, etc., are started by the locals. The tribal also bring new crops such as paddy, fruits, leaves of trees, and flowers for use in worship. All the tribal people, including men, women and children, dress in colourful ethnic attire, worship trees, dance, sing and rejoice on this day.
Sarhul is celebrated in spring on the fortnight of ‘Chaitra’ or the third moon day of the Hindu calendar’s first month. Sarhul festival signifies the beginning of ‘Phaagun’ or the advent of the spring season. It is celebrated till the month of ‘Jeth’ or June.
Find detailed information on the Sarhul festival and Sarhul festival celebrated by which tribe below:
Origin, History, and Significance of Sarhul
Sarhul festival is an important festival for many tribes of Jharkhand, especially for the Oraon tribe. The Oaron tribe is a worshipper of nature, and during the Sarhul festival, they worship the Saal tree. The saal tree provides shelter, protects them from weather and provides firewood, so the tribal worship it. The tribal believe that Mother Nature resides in the saal tree, and by worshipping the saal tree and making an offering to it, they worship Mother Nature.
The appeasement of Mother Nature is the most critical aspect of the Sarhul puja. At this time (during the spring season), the saal tree is sprouting new leaves and flowers. Another famous tribe of Jharkhand, Santhal, also celebrates this day as “Baha” or the “Festival of Flowers”. The Santhals use Mahua flowers along with Saal tree flowers for worship and rituals.
Sarhul festival’s history goes back to the Mahabharata period. There are several legends of the festival, most stating that it was celebrated in the spring season. A legend says the villagers during spring offered prayers to the village God or the protector of their tribe. The villagers celebrated it with lots of flowers, dance and music. During that time, the Saal tree, its leaves and flowers were an important part of worship and celebrations.
Another legend popular in the Oraon tribe is that there was a demon called Sarem Boodhi. He was killed with simple weapons and tools, such as sticks, etc., by a tribal boy. The news of the killing of demons spread slowly and in many days, so the villagers, when they heard, celebrated the killing. Hence this festival is celebrated for many days. This festival is also known as “Khaddar Gahi Khaddi” or the “festivals of the kids”.
During the Sarhul puja, the village priest called the Pahan fasted for a few days. The day before the festival, he used to bring three new clay pots and fill them with water for the main rituals and worship. The water level of the pots indicated ample rain, famine or less rain—the more water in the pot, the more rain and grain production. The celebrations went on for weeks. It was believed to be an auspicious occasion, and it made the earth fertile as the sowing of seeds started after it.
When is Sarhul Celebrated
Sarhul festival is celebrated every year on Chaitra Shukla Tritiya, the third moon day falling in the month of Chaitra. According to the western calendar, it comes in March or April. In 2023, it is falling on 24 March 2023l.
How is Sarhul Celebrated and Where to Go
Sarhul festival is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm in the regions of Jharkhand and Orissa. Many rituals are performed under the saal trees to appease the Gods and Mother Nature. The tribal people offer fruits and flowers and sometimes sacrifice animals and birds. Houses are decorated, different cuisines are made, and people get dressed in colourful ethnic wear and perform the Sarhul dance to mark the advent of the New Year. The Sarhul dance expresses the festive feelings and enthusiasm of the people, and with traditional Sarhul songs, people narrate stories related to the festival. Tribal also drink the locally made brew called “Hadia”.
Sarhul puja festivities can be seen in Jharkhand, Orissa and some parts of Bihar. The following places are worth visiting for the Sarhul festival:
- Ranchi- The city in Jharkhand is known for its fabulous festivities during the Sarhul festival. There are various cultural events organised with traditional dancing and singing.
- Jamshedpur- The beautiful city has many events and programmes celebrating the festivals, where people gather to dance and enjoy.
- Dhanbad- Dhanbad has many puja events, cultural programmes and other events where people get together, dance and sing to celebrate this festival.
- Cuttack- The beautiful city of Cuttack celebrates this festival with enthusiasm. There are several cultural events and traditional programmes to enjoy the day.
To enjoy this Sarhul festival and explore any of these cities, use redBus to book your online tickets without hassle. redBus can take you to any place with ease and comfort. To book your bus tickets, visit the redBus India portal or download the redBus mobile application.