होम Culture / History ”Sarhul” Biggest Nature Festival of Tribal Society

”Sarhul” Biggest Nature Festival of Tribal Society

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Sarhul is a vibrant spring festival celebrated in the beautiful Indian state of Jharkhand. It marks the beginning of the new year, bringing with it three days of joy and festivities. From the 3rd day of Chaitra month in Sukla Paksh to Chaitra Purnima, the people of Jharkhand come together to celebrate this auspicious occasion.

Sarhul Festival Date 2024

11 April 2024 Sarhul is the festival of the New Year celebrated in the state of Jharkhand by the tribal communities as part of the local Sarna religion. It is celebrated in the Hindu month of Chaitra, three days after the appearance of the new moo

Significance of Sarhul

''Sarhul" Biggest Nature Festival of Tribal Society

During Sarhul, the village priest known as Pahan plays a crucial role. He offers sacrifices of flowers, fruits, vermilion, roosters, and even a special drink called tapan (liquor) to the Sun, the village deity, and the ancestors. This ritual is performed to seek blessings for the prosperity and well-being of the village.

Symbolism in Rituals

After the offering, the locals join in a lively dance, holding the beautiful flowers of the sal tree. This dance is not just a celebration but also symbolizes the union of Earth and Sun, according to tradition. The festival holds great significance for the Kurukh and Sadan communities.

Etymology of Sarhul

The name “Sarhul” itself carries meaning. In the local Nagpuri language, “Sar” or “Sarai” refers to the majestic sal tree (Shorea robusta), while “hul” means ‘collectively’ or ‘grove’. So, Sarhul is a celebration of nature through the vibrant sal trees.

Interpretations of the Name

  • Some say “Hul” might signify ‘revolution’, suggesting a revolutionary celebration through the sal flowers.
  • Others believe “Sar” means ‘year’ and “hul” means ‘begin’, symbolizing the start of a new year.
''Sarhul" Biggest Nature Festival of Tribal Society
Celebration of Sarhul

During the festival, people gather at sacred places called Sarna to worship. Ploughing is forbidden on this day, and fasting is observed the day before. Young folks venture into the nearby forests to collect Sal flowers, along with crabs and fish.

Rituals and Offerings

As the festival day arrives, the air fills with the beats of Dhol, Nagara, and Madal as people make their way to Sarna. Here, they offer Shalai, the flowers of the Sal tree, to the deities. The village priest, Pahan, also known as Laya, performs the sacred rituals, sacrificing three roosters of different colors—one for the Sun, one for the village deities, and one for the ancestors. The priest also places a water pot in Sarna to predict the weather for the upcoming year.

''Sarhul" Biggest Nature Festival of Tribal Society
Community Celebrations

After the rituals, the Pahan distributes the Sal tree flowers among the villagers, who then worship the souls of their ancestors at home. They offer various foods to the ancestral spirits, and only after this ritual do they partake in a meal themselves.

Sarhul Dance Procession

In the city of Ranchi, a colorful Sarhul dance procession has been a tradition since 1961. It’s a mesmerizing sight, showcasing the rich cultural heritage of Jharkhand. However, in urban areas, the middle-class tribal activists have reimagined Sarhul as a symbol of regional identity, while in rural areas, it remains a heartfelt thanksgiving to the deities.

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