Hailing from Mithila and living in different corners of the world what we mostly miss out on is the one of a kind list of festivals and celebrations that are unique in our Mithila region. Some of these festivals are also celebrated in UP and Jharkhand; but the flavor of it changes with every few kilometers.
Here we are listing and will talk a little about some of those festivals and celebrations:
This sweet festival is a reminder of the beautiful relationship we share with our brothers. This festival is celebrated in November with the arrival of the migratory birds. According to folk tales Sama and Chakeva are believed to be a couple who were cursed into bird; but they got their real selves back when Sama’s brother got a wish after very difficult meditation and prayer. All the sisters celebrate this festival to pray for their brother’s long and prosper life.
This festival is celebrated by newly wed brides of Mithila. It is observed during the Shravan month (Sawan in Hindi). This is celebrated at Parent’s place and Bhar (presents) is sent from groom’s family. Traditionally the bride should eat only thingssent from her husband’s house. For thirteen days, the newly wed brides everyday bring flowers from various gardens and worship Naga Devta, Gauri, Shanti Kalash, Surya, Chandrama, Navagrah and several Nags such as Nag Dampati, Bairasi along with hundred brothers, Chanai, Kusumawati, Pingla, Lili, Gosauni Nag with seven sisters and lastly Shasthi or Sathi in a temple or at home. Stories are recited on the first and last day. A group of married women sit with the bride to eat Kheer and Puri with her.
Bhardutiya (Bhaiya Duj)
This is another festival for brothers and sisters. This festival is observed for two days after Diwali celebrations. Brothers go to their sisters and a small ceremony is conducted. Sisters apply Pithar (grounded rice and water), Roli and put Paan Paat (betel leaf), a silver coin and flowers over the brothers joined palms. Then they recite a prayer for his prosperity and long life. This procedure is repeated three times before finally washing all the stuffs away.
Here is a beautiful song by Rajni Pallavi Jee on Bhardutiya. This song beautifully depicts how a sister is writing a letter to ask her brother to come on Bhardutiya else she will not talk to him and not eat.
This celebration also is for newly-wed couples. It is associated with Laksmi Puja as well as Chandra Puja. The entire family of groom and bride stay up all night and do not close their doors awaiting moon light and goddess Lakshmi to arrive. It is believed that gods come to earth in the full moon night of Kojagra Poornima. As people have to be awake whole night they play Pachhisi played with Kauri (Cowrie shell). Distributing Paan, Makhana and sweets among family members and people is a tradition which people have kept kept very close to their heart.
Upnayan, thread ceremony also known as Yagyopavit Sanskar among many is a celebration where young boys have to submit themselves to puja for 8-10 days with many ceremonies in between. Upnayan Sanskar marks the acceptance of a student by a Guru and his entrance in school for learning. According to Hindu mythology Lord Ram and his 3 brothers underwent Upnayan Sanskar before they left for Ashrama of Guru Vashistha.
Like Upanayan, Mundan ceremony is also conducted in many parts of India. However, in Mithila it is done when is child id of age 1 or 3 or 5. On an auspicious date decided according to Mithila Panchang boy’s head is shaved in the lap of mother or any elderly lady. After shaving of head it is applied with Haldi and Gangajal and then all the elders bless the kid with sweets and gifts. This ceremony is supposed to get the kid rid of his past life.
Here is a song which is most prominently sung on this festive mood of Mundan Sanskar where ladies are asking the barber to shave the kids gently and slowly as his head is soft and his hairs are curly.
Around the same time of Teej festival, Chaurchan is celebrated in Mithila on Bhadra Shukla Chauth. It is devoted to worshiping moon with fruits, makhan kheer, dahi etc. Women fast whole day without water and do Alpana (A type of Rangoli done with grind rice) in Angan and keep wooden block with Alpana on it after dusk and wait for moon to come out of clouds. All family members gather in Angan with Prasad in their hands and wait to pray once they see moon. This day supposedly brings good fortune. Pirikiya and Khajur are something for which all kids keep waiting for once the prayers are finished.
It is celebrated on the 14th day of bright fortnight of Bhadrapad (september-october). This festival is celebrated to please the god of Snakes. A thread is worn around arms of the devotees. This thread is believed to save them from any Snake bite.
This festival is for all married women. They gather around a Banyan tree, tie a thread around the tree’s trunk, offer prasad and worship. A Katha (story) is narrated to all by either a priest or any lady from the devotee. According to legend, Savitri tricked Yamraj, the lord of death and compelled him to return the life of her husband named Satyawan. Hence Married women observe Vat Savitri Vrat for well-being and long life of their husband. They also fan the Banyan tree as well as their husband with a hand fan.
Dev Uthan Ekadasi
A festival celebrated in households on the 11th day of Shukla Paksh of Kartik month. It marks the end of Chaturmas (A period of four months) when god Vishnu is believed to sleep. It is said that this festival is to wake gods up so that the festivals and auspicious activities can start. No marriages and other auspicious activities take place during Chaturmas when god is believed to be sleeping. After Devuthan Ekadasi many minor and major festivals start. Women draw Alpana in Angan with Pithar (Semi paste made out of grind rice and water).
These were a glimpse of some of the interesting festivals from the land of Mithila. Enjoy the festivities wherever you are and keep the spirit of Mithila alive!