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Festivals and Fairs in Ranchi

India is a land of festivals and Jharkhand state is no exception. People celebrate various festivals with fun and gaiety and immerse themselves in the colours of love and togetherness. Music, dance and prayers are the essence of any festival here.

Ranchi has a cosmopolitan social structure and everyone joins together to enjoy during festivals. It's the time to buy new clothes, meet friends and relatives and distribute sweets. The basic essence of these festivals is to live in harmony. They also symbolize triumph of good over evil.

Let us explore more about these festivals:                                           
Popular Festival in Ranchi


It is celebrated in the month of ''Phalgun'' (during February-March). Holi marks joyful colours of 'gulal' which people apply to each other. Coloured water, water balloons and sweets like 'gujia' are all part of festivity. For more on Holi, click here


This festival marks the birth of prince Ram and is also known as ''Chaitra Mas Shuklapaksha Navami'.


The festival marks  triumph of good over evil. The ten headed Ravana was defeated by Rama who returned to Ayodhya on this day. This is the reason people celebrate Dussehra with great enthusiasm. 

Some festivals are celebrated by tribal population inhabiting this region. These festivals find their origin in age old traditions and culture of tribal population living here. The names of these festivals are furnished below:


Sarhul Festival Celebration in Ranchi

It is celebrated during the spring season when flowers start blooming on saal trees. People offer saal flowers to their deity and worship Him. Everyone enjoys this festival by drinking ''handia'' and dance to the tune and beats of traditional musical instruments.


''Karam devta'', who is the God of power and youthfulness, is worshiped. The festival is complete only with tribal music and dance. Karam festival is celebrated in the hindu month of Bhadrapad (month of September-October). It is celebrated not only by the  ''adivasis'' but also by indigenous non-tribal groups called ''sadans''. Karam is a festival of nature and fertility, as believed by some tribes. An auspicious day is fixed by village folk and their chief for celebrations.

The village priest relates the legend about seven brothers who were engaged in agriculture. Their wives carried lunch for them to the field where they worked hard. Once it so happened that their wives did not bring lunch for them and they went back home hungry only to find their wives singing and dancing merrily around a branch of Karam tree that was planted in the courtyard of their house. They were infuriated and one of them uprooted the karam branch and flung it into the river. This was an insult to Karam deity and with passage of time, their economic condition started deteriorating to the extent of starvation.Then one day a ''brahmin'' (priest) visited them and the brothers narrated their woes to him. The ''brahmin'' advised them to appease Karam Rani (Goddess). The brothers followed his counsel and gradually their economic condition improved.The underlying message is that environment should be protected at all costs.

Young villagers collect flowers, wood and fruits from the jungle for prayers and rituals. The branch of karam tree (''karam dalli'') symbolizes Karam Devta, the goddess of power, youth, wealth and children. Cuttings of three branches are planted in the ground where the community dances and sings in groups. The place where such ''Karam dance'' is performed whole night is called ''Akhara-sthal'' and these branches are known as ''Karam Raja''.

A pot filled with water, an iron rod for digging (''sabbal''), ''diya-bati'', ghee and milk are brought and after digging the earth, the three branches are tied making seven rounds of the thread. They are placed in the hole which is now filled up with mud.  The next day is marked by offering of flowers, rice and curd to ''Karam Raja''. Red colour baskets full of grains (''daliya''), two pieces of cloth dipped in ''haldi'' (turmeric) and covering the cucumber, a lighted ''diya'' and  small wooden stick (''datwan'' taken from Sakhwa tree) are placed nearby and covered by ''rendi'',''pechki'' or ''kuchu'' leaf (''patti'') to seek blessings . Later, the fasting girls distribute their rice-grain and sit in front of Karam dalli.

The legend associated with this festival are narrated by ''pahan'' or village priest. Barley seedlings are given out to young adivasis, who wear them on their heads. The devotees observe fast for the entire day and night full of prayers and celebration. Prayers are also offered to other Gods and Goddesses and ancestors at home. Parents give their fasting children dhoti, turra-pagri, chaurasi and ghungroo. They return to the ''akhara-sthal'' and enjoy a whole night resplendent with traditional music and dance on the beats of traditional drums. The completion of the festival marks ceremonial immersion of  ''karam bough'' in the river or local pond.

The devotees feast together and also drink ''handia'' which is rice beer along with rice, curd and vegetables.This festival reiterates their relationship with nature, need for environmental conservation  and its impact on their lives.


This is a festival celebrated by unmarried girls. It symbolizes fertility, birth of a son and a good harvest. Baskets are decorated with germinating seeds and green melons are offered to Karam deity. This is symbolic of enhancing fertility and prayer for birth of a son. Jawa festival is a time to be one with nature. It brings the tribals close to their customs and traditions and also gives them an opportunity to hold the hands of their loved ones and sway to the beat of drums.
                                                                                                               Tusu Parab Celebration in Ranchi

Tusu Parab or Makar:

It is a harvest festival which is celebrated by unmarried girls.They deck up and embellish a bamboo frame with coloured paper and give it as gift to the  river in the vicinity. They sing songs and also dance merrily taking simple steps. Makar Sankranti marks the advent of Spring. Children and adults engage themselves in flying kites.The festival is a symbol of turning away from negativity and darkness and embracing positivity and a new life, growing in purity, wisdom and knowledge. This is also an auspicious  time to perform any significant ritual.

Scientifically, during this time, winter season ends and spring or harvest season commences. According to a legend, Lord Vishnu  brought an end to the terror of demons on this day by burying their heads under ''Mandara Parvata''. In Mahabharata, Bhishma used the boon of ''Ichha mrityu'' (death at his own will) given to him and left his mortal body on Makar Sankranti. It is a belief among people that anyone dying during ''Uttarayana'' becomes free from rebirth.

Chura, Jaggery (''gur''), tilkut, tilwa and maska are prepared using sesame seeds along with other sweets which are offered to everyone. On the second day of the festival, ''khichri'' (mixture of rice and daal) is prepared with vegetables such as cauliflower, potato, peas etc.

People take bath early in the morning and start the day with prayers.They offer sesame seeds to the fire and then consume ''dahi-chuda'' (curd and rice), ''bhujia'' (prepared from pumpkin using sugar and salt without adding any water to it),tilkut and lai (laddus prepared with til, chura or beaten rice and chawal). In the evening, khichri is relished along with curd, ''chokha'', ghee, ''chutni'' , ''tilauri''  and pickle (''achaar''). In Bihar and Jharkhand, makar sankranti is also known as ''Sakraat'' or ''Khichdi'' or ''tusu parab'' and is celebrated around 14th or 15th of January.


Hal Punhya:

It  marks the beginning of ploughing. The farmers plough two and a half circles of their agricultural land which is believed to bring good fortune. 

Bhagta Parab:

''Chhau dance''and various traditional sports mark this occassion. Budha Baba is worshipped during this festival.                           
                                   Rohini Festival in Ranchi                                                      


This  festival marks the beginning of sowing of seeds in the fields. 


Animals such as cows and bulls are cleaned during this festival. Natural colours are used for painting their bodies. These  animals are then decked up with ornaments. 
Banda Festival in Ranchi


This festival is celebrated every 12 years. Women dress up like men and go for hunting during this festival.There is a legend according to which the Kurukh women in Roh-tas-garh drove away the Mohemmedans who came to capture the fort while their men were drunk. 

There is no doubt that the celebrations during festivals with dance and music is rejuvenating and bring people together, steering past divisions of caste and creed, race and religion, like colourful beads in one necklace... filling the air with love and brotherhood.


Fairs in the state of Jharkhand are basically platforms for buying and selling of cattle. Wrestling, acrobatics, swimming, swings for children add to fun and frolic. People throng to the site of fair or ''mela'' from far and near places. Kolhua mela is held twice in a year. Chatra mela started in 1882 and is held with same enthusiasm even today. Most of these celebrations coincide with festivals and prayers in the region.

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