"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." – Albert Einstein

Culture!


Demographics

Hinduism is practiced by 83.2% of the population and forms the majority religion in the state.[4] Islam is practiced by 16.5% of the population, and other religions less than 0.5%.[5] Also there are 20,780 followers of Sikhism.[6]

Festivals

* Chhath, also called Dala Chhath – is an ancient and major festival in Bihar, and is celebrated twice a year: once in the summers, called the Chaiti Chhath, and once around a week after Deepawali, called the Kartik Chhath. The latter is more popular because winters are the usual festive season in North India, and Chhath being an ardous observance requiring the worshippers to fast without water for more than 24 hours, is easier to do in the Indian winters. Chhath is the worship of the Sun God. Wherever people from Bihar have migrated, they have taken with them the tradition of Chhath. This is a ritual bathing festival that follows a period of abstenance and ritual segregation of the worshipper from the main household for two days. On the eve of Chhath, houses are scrupulously cleaned and so are the surroundings. The ritual bathing and worship of the Sun God takes place, performed twice: once in the evening and once on the crack of the dawn, usually on the banks of a flowing river, or a common large water body. The occasion is almost a carnival, and besides every worshipper, usually women, who are mostly the main ladies of the household, there are numerous participants and onlookers, all willing to help and receive the blessings of the worshipper. Ritual rendition of regional folk songs, carried on through oral transmission from mothers and mothers-in-law to daughters and daughters-in-law, are sung on this occasion for several days on the go. These songs are a great mirror of the culture, social structure, mythology and history of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Nowadays, modern Chhath songs, largely Bollywood filmy remixes have caught on, but the old tradition still goes strong. Chhath, in absence of proper administrative arrangements, however, leads to some serious problems of traffic congestion, waterbody pollution and vandalism on several Bihari towns. However, Chhath being celebrated at the crack of the dawn on a river bank is a beautiful, elating spiritual experience connecting the modern Indian to his ancient cultural roots.

Chhath is celebrated around a week after the festival of Diwali. However, the two festivals are not connected, mythologically speaking. While Diwali celebrates the return of Lord Rama after the battle with the demon king Ravana, Chhath is an ancient festival supposedly started by the King of Anga Desh (modern Bhagalpur region in Bihar) named Karna. Karna is a powerful character in the epic Mahabharata.

Chhath is also celebrated by a great number of people in Eastern Uttar Pradesh.

Teej and Chitragupta Puja are other local festivals celebrated with fervour in Bihar.

* Among ritual observances, the month long Shravani Mela held along a 108 kilometre route linking the towns of Sultanganj and Deoghar [now in Jharkhand state] is of great significance. Shravani Mela is organised every year in the Hindu month of Shravan, that is the lunar month of July-August. Pilgrims, known as kanwarias, wear saffron coloured clothes and collect water from a sacred Ghat [river bank] at Sultanganj, walking the 108 km stretch barefooted to the town of Deogarh to bathe a sacred Shiva-linga [sacred rock]. The observance draws thousands of people to the town of Deoghar from all over India.

Bihula-Bishari Puja of Anga region also is a great festival of Bihar.

The Sonepur cattle fair is a month long event starting approximately half a month after Deepawali and is considered the largest cattle fair in Asia. It is held on the banks of the Sone River in the town of Sonepur. The constraints of the changing times and new laws governing the sale of animals and prohibiting the trafficking in exotic birds and beasts have eroded the once-upon -a-time magic of the fair.

* Apart from Chhath, all major festivals of India are celebrated in Bihar, such as Makar Sankranti, Saraswati Puja, Holi, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha (often pronounced Eid-uz-Zoha in South Asia), Muharram, Ram Navami, Rath yatra, Rakhi, Maha Shivaratri, Durga Puja, Divali, Laxmi Puja, Christmas, Mahavir Jayanti, Buddha Purnima, Chitragupta puja, and several other local festivals as well.

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One response

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