Baha Parab [Why this is celebrated by Santals | know the reason behind celebrating this festival]

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Where BAHA PARAB is celebrated mostly ?

Baha Parab is a festival celebrated by the Santal, which is seen in Santali area. This festival is mostly celebrated in Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal and Assam. In this, almost all the tribals join the festival and enjoy the festival. They all have a type of cloth included in this festival. Boys wear green kacha (a type of dhoti) and girls wear green sarees. This festival is considered to be the biggest festival of Santal.

Image source – Google| Image by Ramjit Tudu

Story behind BAHA parab !

In the past, the Santal tribe used to do farming and also hunted together. And hunting was the main job of the colonies. Once, five brothers went to the jungle to hunt like every time. The five brothers were Ulung, Paika, Kapi, Karam, and Bhalua. Ulung was the eldest of them. He decided that he would arrange for the fire to burn and proceeded towards the forest bringing dry wood. He suddenly saw a house on the edge of the forest which was a hut. And there was a girl in the house who was very beautiful. On seeing that girl, Ulung stood there and kept thinking how such a beautiful girl could live in a hut. He tried to ask but was hesitant to ask. Finally, he asked the girl “Is there a fire in your house?” , And the girl also very kindly replied that there is always a fire in their house. The girl said, “I am of Mahra caste and milk is heated daily in our house, hence the fire always remains”.                      

 Talking like this, the two fell in love with each other in the first meeting. And finally, Ulung decides to carry the fire and asks the girl for fire. The girl too fell in love with Ulung and wanted to go with him and asked Ulung “Won’t you take me with you?”. Ulung told the girl that it was very difficult to answer this and slowly started to go away with fire and the girl also started following him. The two started a fire together and went to the place where Uluung’s brothers were. Ulung told everyone the reason for bringing the girl with him. They all got together and started eating their victims and started living together. Then like every time, five brothers used to go to the forest and come home with their prey and that girl used to take care of them while staying at home. Every day around the fire, everyone and everyone danced together and sang happily.      

 In the same way, they all happily began to overflow life. Days passed by months. One day an unknown boy walked towards the people walking on the edge of the forest. And saw five boys dancing with a girl. Everyone seemed happy. The unknown boy was looking at them and listening to their songs. The boy was watching them and listening to their songs. He was so happy to see all of them that he would secretly watch their dance songs every day. One day he suddenly appeared in the eyes of five brothers. they asked the boy “Why and how long have you been watching us in secret?”, The boy replied that he had been watching them all for several days. Then the five brothers and the Mahra girl mixed them in their lentils so that no one would know about them in the village. They all told the boy not to tell anyone about it in the village. And that boy agreed to them all. When the five brothers asked him to state his name, the boy called his name Bijay. And from the same day, Bijay also used to come in the evening every day to join their team.

Once everyone was sitting in Bijay’s house and talking and Bijay was also sitting with the members of the house. Bijay is thinking of singing his dance and suddenly starts laughing. All the members started asking him the reason to make Bijoy laugh but Bijoy did not tell anything. Everyday the family asked him the reason for laughing but he did not tell. But one day he is forced to tell the reason of his laughing to the family and tells everything. He tells that five brothers and a mahara girl live in a hut on the edge of the forest and they all do not want to come to the village because they all live with a mahara girl. They wanted that there was no problem in the village because of them. Bijay again said that seeing all of them dancing, he too joined the dal. And Bijay said “I will go dancing again after dinner this evening”.

These things of Bijoy became known to everyone in the village and forced him to think why he has been living in a slum for so many days. The people of the village started talking together that how many days would those five brothers and mahara girls be away from home. All the members of the village held their view that they are all our children and it is not right to keep them out. That is why all the villagers decided that they would worship for them and bring them all back home so that they could all live their lives well. That is why the villagers set a time to bring them all back. On the scheduled day, the villagers brought the five brothers and the mahara girl with music of tumda and tamak( tumda and tamak are musical instruments mostly used by the santals ) to the village end. They were bathed there and untouchables were removed and then brought inside the village. Then they were taken to every house in the village and their feet were washed. The village head then happily corrected the village with religious rituals and discussed how all will live well in the village.

The purpose of celebrating Baha Parab by Santal society

Image source – Google | Image by Ramjit Tudu

Today’s Santal tribals organize Baha Parab to maintain the same work that the ancestors of Santal used to do. The Baha festival is worshiped in jaaher where they all join together with five (Uluang, Paika, Kapi, Karam and Bhalua), six (Bijay) and Mahara girl. For all of them, huts are made in jaaher, those huts are cleaned with cow dung. For the Mahara Mata (Mahara girl), a hut is built inside the jaaher, a little away from the boys’ hut (five brothers and Bijoy’s hut) and is worshiped there. jaaher mata i.e. mahara girl’s name was Ram salgi They are all worshiped in Jaaher. After worshiping, the village head is taken to every house and his feet are washed and he gives holy leaves to everyone and pours water over everyone to make everyone holy. The purpose of celebrating Baha festival by Santal society

What is Baha Parab?

Baha Parab is a festival celebrated by tribals in which flowers are worshiped.

Is Baha Parab a community festival?

Yes Baha Parab is a community festival celebrated by the people of Santal Jati.

When is Baha Parab celebrated?

Baha Parab is celebrated every year during the spring season. The time when new leaves start growing in the trees is considered the right time for Baha Parab.

What do people do in Baha Parab?

In Baha Parab everybody worships in their place of worship (jaher) and after that everybody sing and dance. It includes all Santal tribes and enjoys the festival.

Todays Santals

Nowadays new Santals are slowly forgetting their history. Right now, Santals are more interested in adopting Western culture, forgetting their dignity.

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