Dances || Festivals || Recreation
Boudh is a new district but the civilization of Boudh area is as old as the oldest river valley civilizations of the world. As all civilization started on the banks of river and riverine passage was the mode of transport in the days of yore , people of Boudh claimed to be inheritors of rich culture. From second century AD upto a period of one thousand years Boudh was an important seat of Buddhism,Savisim and Shakti cult in the country. It was highly developed educationally and culturally during the Soma Vanshi period and also during the Gangas and Surya Vanshi period.
Various types of dances are prevalent in the district . these are usually held during socio-religious functions. An account of some of the major dances are given below.
The Karma dance of Boudh is quite different from the Karama dance of the Oraons of Sundergarh District. In Boudh , the Ghasis perform this festival and dance. They observe Sana Karama festival on the 11 th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Bhadrab ( August- September) and Karama festival on the 11 th day of the bright fortnight of the same month . On both the occasions, males and females belonging to Ghasi community perform the Karama dance. The girls sing Karama songs and the boy play on the Mrudunga and Madala. They generally sing songs relating to goddess Karama whom they worship on the occasion .
Danda Nata is a ritual dance and is very popular and developed in Boudh. The participants of the dance are the devotees of god Hara and goddess Parvati. They perform the dance in the month of Chaitra (March-April) and Vaishakha ( April-May). Danda begins on an auspicious day before the Chaitra Sankranti or Meru Parba with traditional worship and fasting .This dance consists of a series of dances which are performed one after another by the male members belonging to the Scheduled Castes and other backward castes. In this dance the Ghasis provide the music with the help of Dhol and Mahuri. The dance has a rich repertory. Parva dance is the first item of the repertory. The Prabhakar and the Prabhakariani, dressed in multi coloured dress, dance in the beginning. The dancer places a piece of cloth on his shoulders and holds the ends of the same in front with both the hands. He moves his hands forward and backward,right and left , to the rhythm of the dance. A semi-circular plate , made of bamboo sticks and covered with coloured and decorated cloth with ornamental border ,is tied to the back of the Prabhkar. The Prabhakar wears multi coloured skirt and jacket. The Prabhakariani, a male in female role, dresses himself in sari and kanchala(blouse). The Prabhakariani holds apiece of coloured handkerchief in his hand. After the Parava dance is over the Hara –Parvati dance begins. Then a group dance of Fakir and Fakiriani is performed. The dances of Savara and Savarani, Chadeya and Chadouni, are performed one after another. Then the party performs a leela based on a story from the Ramayana or the Mahabharata or from any other Puran through songs and dances . Patarasaura and Patarasaurani perform their dance at the end of the leela. The last , but not the least , is the Binakar who closes the performance with his most significant songs and dances.
The music of the Danda Nata is different for different dances . The songs are of different tunes for different characters. The songs are mainly devotional and mostly based on stories from the epics. Humorous songs are sometimes sung by the dancers . sometimes they put questions in songs and their counterpart give the reply in songs. The songs are of folk and Odissi style. The dance originated from tribal dances, but has been much influenced by the Yatra and Pala performance of the state. Danda Nata is being gradually modernized in respect of music, dance, costume, style and make up. It is thereby losing its original simplicity and traditional characteristics.
The people of Boudh perform this dance during the month of Aswina ( September –October ) on the occasion of Bhaijuntia ( Bhatri Dwitya) In this dance young girls stand in a line or in a semi-circular pattern with songs known as Dalkhai songs.
Fairs and Festivals
The Hindus of the district observe a number of festivals all the year round. These festivals may broadly be divided into two categories , viz. domestic festivals observed in each house hold and public festivals and fairs where people congregate in large numbers on some auspicious days. The domestic festivals are confined tom worship of family deities, observance of ekadashis, various vratas, etc. most of them being guided by phases of the moon. The public festivals are usually religious ceremonies attended by a large number of men ,women and children who come for worship as well as entertainment . An account of some of the important festivals in the district is given below.
Chuda Khai Jatra
This function is observed in the last Friday of Margasira(November-December) wherein both males and females gather in a place and scold each other in filthy languages and also fight each other. The conception behind this is that by such function the land will yield good crops.
The Ratha Jatra or Car Festival of Lord Jagannath is held on the second day of the bright fortnight in the month of Asadha ( June-July). The festival is observed at different places of Boudh, but the festival observed in the Boudh town deserves special mention. During this festivals people of this district wear new dresses and make delicious food. Thousand of people from nearby villages of the district congregate at Boudh for this occasion. The Raja of Boudh performs the ritual as in case of Ratha Jatra of Puri. . The three deities – Lord Jagannath, Balabhadra and Subhadra are taken in a car from main temple to the Mausima temple. The deities stay their for seven days. During this time different types melas , mina bazaar are organized at Boudh as large numbers of people come to Boudh .
Laxmi Puja is observed in almost all Hindu households on every Thursday in the month of Margasira( November-December) . The Hindu women celebrate this festival with great austerity and devotion. On the Thursdays the house and the courtyard are decorated with chita or alpana designs, and Laxmi, the goddess of wealth and prosperity , is evoked and worshipped. The last Thursday of the month marks the end of the Puja when rice cakes and other preparations of sweets are offered to the goddess.
Nuzkhai is an agricultural festival . It is observed more or less in all parts of the district. This ceremony generally takes place in the bright fortnight of Bhadraba ( August –September ) on an auspicious day fixed by the astrologer. On this occasion preparations of the new rice are offered to gods, goddesses and ancestors after which members of the family along with friends and relatives partake of the new rice. The head of the family officiates in this function.
Sivaratri festival is observed in all Siva temples on the 14th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Phalguna ( February-March). The devotees remain awake throughout the night and worship Lord Siva. At midnight a lamp called Mahadipa is taken to the top of the temple and is kept burning throughout the night. The devotees break their fast after seeing the Mahadipa. This festival is observed with great pomp and splendour in the Siva temple of Boudh town namely Matengeswar, Chandrachuda, Mallisahi, and at Jagati,Karadi, Sarsara, ,Dapala,Bhejigora,Raniganj of Boudh District.
The Durga Puja and Dasahara festivals are celebrated during the bright fortnight in the month of Aswina ( September-October). Generally this Puja continues for four days from Saptami up to Dasami. The images of goddess Durga are worshipped in a few places in the district of which celebrations held at Boudh town & at Sakta shrine of Purunakatak deserve special mention.
Dasahara has a special significance to the warrior caste. They worship their old weapons of war and exhibit physical feats on the occasion. Their heroic forebears used to start on fresh military expeditions during this season of the year.
Dola Jatra is usually celebrated from the day of Phagu Dasami to Phagu Purnima.In some places it is observed from the next day of Phagu Purnima to Chaitra Krushna Panchami. On this occasion the images of Radha & Krishna are placed in a decorated biman and carried in procession to the accompaniment of music. At places the bimans carrying Radha-Krishna images from different places assemble together for a community worship. This assembly of the gods called melan is usually celebrated with great pomp & show. This is the main festival of the people belonging to the Gaura caste. They worship the cow and play naudi( a play with sticks) by singing songs relating to Radha and Krishna.
Puajiuntia and Bhaijiuntia
The Puajintuia ceremony is celebrated on the 8th day of the dark fortnight in the month of Aswina ( September- October) . On this occasion almost all the mothers worship the deity Dutibahana for long life and prosperity of their sons.
On the 8th day of the bright fortnight of Aswina ( September-October) Bhaijiuntia is observed. The sisters worship goddess Durga on this occasion for the long and happy life of their brothers
Ramanavami or Ramaleela celebration is celebrated during the month of Chaitra. It is observed for eight to thirty days at different temples of Rama .It is a dance drama in open theatre for the entertainment people during which seven parts of the epic Ramayana is being played by different artists in different nights. It is observed with great pomp & show in Raghunath temple at Boudh town for eighteen days. It is also observed with religious fervor at Raghunath jew temple of Debgarh and in the village Bahira.
Kailashi or Kalashi jatra is observed on the 11 th day of bright fortnight of Kartika which is also an auspicious month for Hindu . It is observed in the kalashi kothi ( worshipping place) .The walls of the kalashi kothi is painted with different god and goddess .A special type of musical instrument called Dhunkel is being played during this occasion inside the worshipping place. Girasinga is famous for this festival in the district. It is also observed in Palas, Khuntbandha,gundulia,Sarsara, Samapaju, Sidhapur, Khaligaon, and Khaliabagicha of Boudh town.
The Christians of the district observe New Year’s day , Good Friday, Easter Saturday, Easter Sunday, Easter Monday, Christmas Eve and Chirstmas Day with great pomp and show.
The Muslim inhabitants celebrate Id-Ul-Fitre,Id-Ul-Zuha,Shab-E-Barat,Shab-E-Quadar,Juma-Tul-Wida,Muharram,Shab-E-Meraj,Milad-Un-Nabi, and Ramzan like their fellow brethren in other parts of the state.
Leisure and recreation are essential for life. People usually gather in the evening at the temple or in a common place where the priest or puran panda recites and explains from the religious texts like the Bhagabat, the Mahabharat, the Ramayan,the Haribansa,or other Puranas. Singing of Bhajan or kirtan accompanied with musical instruments like khanjani ,gini ,mrudanga or harmonium is also another popular form of entertainment of the people .occasionally acrobatic feats , monkey dance, beard dance, and snake charming and magic performed by itinerant professional groups also provide entertainment to the people. In urban areas cinema, opera are common source of entertainment. Besides this recreational clubs are also functioning in the district.