Tuesday, August 5

Festivals in Tripura

Ashokastami Festival

Introduction to the Ashokastami Festival Ashokastami Festival is held in Tripura with pomp and glory; it is a very popular festival in the state. Since the main population of Tripura is Hinduism, the deities and pattern of worship is also very much akin to the Hindu style. But still one can find numerous other tribal people in Tripura, perhaps this is the reason why Tripura is also known as the laboratory of exotic cultural synthesis. The tribal people mainly worship gods and Goddesses in their animistic form. It is in harmony to their sacred book known as the Ochai. Huge gathering or Mela during the carnival time brings in the impression of Cultural Intermingling, where every caste and creed of men are equally welcome and made to enjoy the warmth and charm of the fete to the fullest extent.

Description of the Ashokastami Festival Ashokastami Festival is mainly associated with the sacred dip in the holy river. In the consecrated river of the Astami Kunda the devotees take a bath and this is considered to bring blessings of the God. At Unakoti this dipping is the sacred festival and people almost perform this with heart felt devotion. We also worship the Lord with heart felt devotion because we all know that "The dimension of depth in the consciousness of religion creates the tension between what is and what ought to be. It bends the bow from which every arrow of moral action flies." Unakoti is actually the renowned place where the aficionados gather during the celebration of Shiva Ratri, Makar Sankranti and Ashokastami Festival to have a soak in the sacred Astami Kunda.

Time of celebration of the Ashokastami Festival The Ashokastami Festival is also reputed as the Ashokastami Fair. This is usually celebrated in the month of March and April according to the movement of the moon, also known as Tithi. It is held each and every year with magnificence and extravaganza.

Durga Puja

Introduction to the Durga Puja "I love you when you bow in your mosque, kneel in your temple, pray in your church. For you and I are sons of one religion, and it is the spirit." When we kneel before the Goddess Durga and ask for mercy we are actually awakening the soul, the hidden spirit in us. Durga Puja in India is also known as Akal Bodhan. It is the most reputed carnivals in India and is continued for five long days during the waxing moon. In India this fiesta is celebrated in different parts such as Karnataka, Bengal, North East, and also in many other places like the Punjab and Maharashtra. Non Residential Indians also celebrates this occasion with tremendous zeal and fervor.

Description of the Durga Puja She is supposed to bring wealth, health and happiness along with her. She symbolizes female dynamism and magnanimity. She is said to have incarnated from the power of the great lords like Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. So, she emblematizes potential vigor and vice demolishing capacity. According to the legend, she was actually created by the great Lords in order to annihilate the powerful Mahisashura, who took over the throne of the Gods from the king Indra. Nobody could do anything because Mahisashura was eternally blessed by Brahma that no man can slay him. So, he gods had to create a female deity with superpower who could destroy the demon. Durga was born from fire of the yagna, so is also known as Yagnaseni. Sri Ram Navami is usually celebrated on the ninth day of this Puja after which the effigy of Ravana is burnt on the 10th day . This is known as Dussera. During this Puja, people buy new clothes; eat sweet dishes and Prasada of the Goddess. Durga Puja continues for five long days and is celebrated with magnanimity and fervor by the Tripurans and the Indians alike.

Time of celebration of the Durga Puja In the month of Ashwin or September- October, this auspicious Puja is celebrated by the people of Tripura. In the light of the waxing Moon the goddess Durga comes to her father’s House from the abode of her husband. In this month the White Kaash Flowers adorns the landscape with charm and hymn of the flowers movement harmonizes with the zeal of the people to see the Mother Goddess Durga once more after a year long separation.

Garia Puja

Introduction to Garia Puja "Human beings must be known to be loved; but Divine beings must be loved to be known." So, only if you love the god you may know how powerful he is. People adore Lord Garia for his eternal power. Garia Puja is celebrated in Tripura because the God Garia is supposed to provide livestock, peace, children and wealth. She is much like Mother Shasthi who gives children to the mothers and is worshipped by the married women. Garia Puja is celebrated with vigor and enthusiasm in Tripura. It is a carnival of the ethnic tribal and is usually celebrated with a dance concert at the end. The majority of the tribal in Tripura follow the Shakti cult but the rest worship Lord Vishnu with heart and soul till today. Since they were the tribal and their religion has been traditionally modified by the Hindu Religion, their form of worship is mainly animistic. They consider that god subsists in the components of nature. To them all places are holy since in each and every place either good or evil spirit resides.

Description of the Garia Puja A bamboo pole that symbolizes the Lord Garia, the deity of livestock and wealth, is worshipped with flowers and garland. The main ingredients with which the Garia Puja is conducted are cotton thread, rice, riccha, fowl chick, rice beer, wine, earthen pots, eggs and wine. According to the age old tradition, the fowl is sacrificed before the deity and the blood of the fowl is strewn before the Lord to get his blessing. The performance of the Garia Carnival is in agreement to the Ochai instructions. During the festival no one is allowed to cross the shadow of the symbolic god Garia, in fear of making him annoyed while doing so. During the Garia Festival the children play drums, sing and dance before the Lord Garia to appease him.

Time of celebration of the Garia Puja The Garia Puja is usually fĂȘted in the last day of the month of Chaitra, during April. It is continued for seven days with pomp and glory, and is the most admired carnivals among the Tripurans. Garia is the compassionate deity of the household, so in order to keep the house in order and ensure peace and serenity inside the home; people worship Garia and celebrate this Puja with dedication and efficiency.

Boat Race

Boat Race is an important event in Tripura and is held every year during the month of August at Melaghara or Gandhacherra. It is one of the famous festivals which hold attraction not only for the people of Tripura but also for the rest of the world. It is a unique ceremony when the people with boats dive down the river and a competition is held; prizes were given at the end of the Boat Race. Tripura is a land consisting of both the tribal and the non tribal groups and the Hindus forms a majority of the population of Tripura. So, it is evident that the Fairs and Festivals of Tripura would involve the Hindus and those festivals would have maximum participation from the Indus only. But the best feature of this Boat Festival is that people irrespective of caste, class and creed are equally given the opportunity to participate in the event and this makes the carnival all the more appealing and amazing. Tripura is a land with lush green landscape inundated with frequent gorges and rivers. But down these rivers people let flow their boats and participate in the Boat Race amidst cheering audience and heartfelt hope and aspiration.

Kharchi Puja

Introduction to the Kharchi Puja "The world is so empty if one thinks only of mountains, rivers and cities; but to know someone here and there who thinks and feels with us, and though distant, is close to us in spirit - this makes the earth for us an inhabited garden." This is perhaps the reason why the people of Tripura worships the Earth God, who is said to sustain the human beings who resides in it. Kharchi Puja is one of the most renowned Pujas in Tripura. It is a sacrosanct procedure of offering reverence to the Mother Earth. People of various caste and creed congregate collectively to present the Mother Earth with a choice of fruits and flowers in order to make her happy, and thereby obtain her blessings. Tribal and Non Tribal joins hand in this holy Puja; the air hums in tune with the hallowed festive mood.

Description of the Kharchi Puja The Kharchi Puja continues for seven days and the people of Tripura with full dedication offer worship to the Fourteen Deities popularly known as Kharchi Puja. All round the week offerings to the deity and the ardent hope of the people to make her happy and get her blessings carry on. It is a splendid scene; people dance and Tribal and Non Tribal fasten together to shell out honor to the great Mother Goddess Earth. Agartala is the place of worship where people from all parts of the country gather and pay due homage to the Deity. The earth is supposed to sustain her children with fruits, water and minerals. Without all these animal life would not survive. Thus the people of Tripura worship her with dedication and affection. To please the Mother Goddess, the people of Agartala offers sacrifices of Goats and Pigeons to the deity. They know that "To cherish what remains of the Earth and to foster its renewal is our only legitimate hope of survival." Kharchi Puja is thus a multihued and amazing ceremony at Tripura.

Time for the Kharchi Puja The time for the Kharchi Puja is usually in the month of July; it is said that the month of Sravana is the most auspicious time for the commencement of the Puja. So, Agartala witnesses a holy carnival with the advent of the July-the month of incessant rein when Mother Goddess is paid homage by sacrifice of Goats and Pigeons.

Pous Sankranti Mela

 Introduction to the Pous Sankranti Mela Pous Sankranti Mela is one of the exquisite fairs held every year at Tripura. It comes along with a festive mood to impart fervor and attachment amongst the people of Tripura with the rest of the world. Pous Sankranti Mela is celebrated with maximum zeal and enthusiasm at Tripura and is visited by most people of the country. .

Description of the Pous Sankranti Mela "For a moment I lost myself, actually lost my life. I was set free! I belonged, without past or future, within peace and unity and a wild joy, within something greater than my own life . . . to life itself. I caught a glimpse of something greater than myself." This something which is greater than the magnitude of human being is the star and since the nearest star of the Earth is the Sun which enlightens our life, the people of Tripura worship the Sun-God at the advent of his Northward journey. The Pous Sankranti Mela is usually held at the source of the River Gomati, which is regarded as the consecrated River in Tripura. In this context mention may be made of the Burbaria Fair which is held in Amarpur subdivision and Mahamanipara Fair at Belonia, Radhamadhavipura Fair at Kanchanpur and Muhuripur Fair which are celebrated with equal keenness and commitment.

Time for the celebration of the Pous Sankranti Mela The time of the fĂȘte of the Pous Sankranti Mela is January, the last day of the month of Pousha. It generally falls in the middle of January and is believed to be the brightest carnival in Tripura.