Jharkhand, the 28th state of India, is a land of varied festivals. This land is the canvas of various spiritual celebrations as well. It is an amalgamation of plenty and antiquity and the festivals that are celebrated by the tribes of Jharkhand are characterised with traditional ardour. The tribal festivals of Jharkhand are popular for their excitement and exuberance. Among many tribal festivals, the most important festive occasion is the Karma Puja in Jharkhand. It is celebrated by the Baiga, Oraon, Binjhwari and Majhwar tribes of the state. It is so popular that the Government of the state has declared the day as a gazetted holiday instead of just a restricted holiday.
Significance of Karma Puja
Karma Puja is a spiritual and religious festival and it really calls for a celebration as the tribal community believes that due to Karam Devta they have a good harvest. This festival is associated with harvest, which is symbolised through a Karam tree. It is very auspicious and is a symbol of fertility and prosperity. This festival is celebrated in the 11th moon of the Hindu month of Bhadrapada (August/September). For some tribal community it isrelated to fertility and for some it is a day to celebrate as the rainy season comes to an end. The festival derives its name from the Karam tree which is worshipped on the day as a symbol of Karam Devta. The villagers go into the jungle in search of the Karam tree and cut three branches of the tree and are brought back to the village. The branches are then placed on a ground called ‘akhara’ which is meant for ceremonial dance.
During the Karma Puja in Jharkhand, the tribal community follows many rituals and customs to propitiate Lord Karma.The preparation of the festival starts almost 10-12 days before the day of celebration. The rituals are:
People fast on this day and seek the blessings of Karam Devta as the entire economy of the tribes is highly dependent on the nature and karma tree symbolise the nature.