Fairs and Festivals of Madhya Pradesh
The adivasis of MP have a zest for life that can be observed from the
countless tribal fairs and festivals celebrated every year. Clad in
their colourful best with loads of jewellery, flowers and fancy
headgear, men and women set out days in advance to reach the site of
the fair or festival. Lets check out some of them.
¤ Madai Festival
of the unique attractions of Bastar is the Madai festival held in the
different villages extending from Mandla to Bastar. It is especially
dear to the Gonds who come from far off places to meet their kith and
kin and to purchase a years supply of items like salt and
Though the Madai is organized in many villages, the most renowned
Madai is that of Narayanpur in Bastar. Held in the third or fourth
week of February, it is a day of great religious importance. Devotees
gather under the shade of a sacred tree to sacrifice a goat to the
mother goddess. Amidst much singing, beating of drums and bells, the
goat is slaughtered and then taken round the entire village. The night
is spent in dancing, eating and making merry.
¤ Bhagoriya Festival
Ever heard of a festival where you are officially allowed to elope
with your lover? Check this one out, guys. Held in the Jhabua
district, the Bhagoriya is to the Bhils what the Madai is to the Gonds
a festival of fun and joy.
It is held a week before the Hindu festival of colours, Holi. Men and
women celebrate it with ritual dancing to the beat of drums and thalis
and the sweet melody of shehnai and bansuri (flutes). Bhagoradev or
the god of dance is worshipped on this occasion. The most respected
village elder presides over the ceremony and offers sweetmeats to the
The festival is special for Bhils because it could well mean love,
romance and even marriage. Young men go around applying gulal (red
coloured powder used to play Holi with) to the girls they like. If a
girl reciprocates the sentiment then she too applies gulal in return
and that is all the permission a young man needs to marry her. Even
the mutual exchange of pan or betel leaf is a declaration of love.
¤ Dusshera of Bastar
The Dusshera of Jagdalpur is said to be quite a celebration. Held
annually in the months of October-November, the venue for this one is
Jagdalpur in Bastar.
The festival of Karma,a religious festival, calls for a huge
celebration every year among the Korba tribals of MP. On the day of
worship, devotees fast from morning till the next day a good 24
hours. A branch from the Karam tree is planted in the middle of an
open ground and the night is spent singing and dancing around it.
¤ The Fair of Nagaji
This fair or mela is a way of remembering and paying respect to Saint
Nagaji who lived at the time of Emperor Akbar, nearly 400 years ago.
Tribals flock to Porsa village in Murena district every winter
(November-December) and make merry for as long as a month. Earlier
monkeys were sold at this fair, but now domestic animals top the
¤ Dance & Mucic
Can there ever be a tribal community without a rich tradition of
dance and music? The adivasis of MP are no exception. Musical
instruments like the tabla, dholak, thali and bansuri are commonly
used as accompaniment to song and dance. Colourful costumes, chunky
ornaments and stunningly bright headgear are vital to all their
dances. Sometimes ghungroos and tiny tinkling bells are tied to the
body to add that extra magic.
Most of the dances are executed to the tune of a love song
celebrating a meeting with the beloved. Sometimes they might even
express the pain and anguish of separation from the beloved. Here are
the three most popular dances.
Sela : The Sela is favoured by
the Baigas of Chattisgarh and is performed with wooden sticks or
Karma : Both the Baigas and the Gonds perform this dance.
Bhagoriya : The Bhils dance the Bhagoriya with great verve
during the festival of Bhagoriya when the lord of dance is worshipped