Significance And Rituals
Karma Festival is an agricultural festival of diverse groups of tribal people such as the Ho, Mundadri, Oraon, Santhali, and Nagpuri tribes.This festival is mainly celebrated in the regions of Jharkhand and Jhargram (West Bengal). In this festival, people worship the Karam Rani, the Goddess of wealth and children in the Hindu month of Bhado (August-September) on the 11th day of a full moon (Purnima). There are many interesting Karma festival rituals associated to this rejoicing event. The festival has an interestingstory associated to it, which emphasises the importance of Karma festivaland it is all about paying reverence to Karam deity.
Rituals of Karma Festival:
- Before the festival, young villagers along with group of drummers enter the jungle and cut one or more branches of the Karam tree which is usually carried by unmarried girls who fast for the day; while carrying they singin praise of the deity.Also they collect wood, fruits and flowers that are essentially required during the puja ceremony.
- Then the branch is planted at the centre of the ground; plastered with cow-dung and decorated with flowers.
- A tribal priest approaches and offers germinated grains and liquor to please the deity who grants the devotees wealth and children. Also a fowl (bird such as chicken) is sacrificed and the blood is offered to the branch considering as deity. The priest then recites a legend to the villagers about the effectiveness of Karam puja.
- The branches are also garlanded and offered flowers, rice and curd.
- Grains offered to the Goddess are put in a red coloured basket and are placed in front of the branches as an offering.
Significance of Karma Festival:
- Tribal people believe that if unmarried girls fast for the day, the crops will be protected and they will have a good harvest throughout the year. However, they even believe that this festival and puja if done sincerely will get them good husbands as well.
- The unmarried girls fast for their family’s health and safety during this Karamfestival.
- Those who are married, fast for the day to have healthy children and happy married lives.
This Karamfestival delivers a message to the whole world and especially the Indians that we all are dependent on land, water and forest; trees that sustain the environment must be worshiped, saved and planted more and more. Mother Nature,if treated well and worshipped can take away all our sufferings and will shower us with all her blessings and resources. As we say, we belong to the Earth and not the Earth belongs to us. This festival is revered all across North Eastern India and many other communities are getting inspired by this festival.