Harela is a traditional festival celebrated in the Indian state of Uttarakhand, primarily in the Kumaon region. The festival is dedicated to the goddess Parvati, and it is celebrated to mark the arrival of the monsoon season and the planting of new crops. The festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and is an integral part of the state’s culture and traditions. In this article, we will explore the significance of harela festival and its traditions and culture.
Origin of Harela Festival
The word “Harela” is derived from the Kumaoni word “Hariyala,” which means greenery. The festival is believed to have originated in the Kumaon region, and it is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu month of Shravan. This month usually falls in July or August and marks the arrival of the monsoon season in the region. The festival is celebrated to welcome the monsoon season and to pray for a bountiful harvest.
Harela Festival 24th July 2023
Harela is a festival celebrated in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand, India. It marks the onset of the monsoon season and the sowing of new crops. Harela means “green” in the local language and refers to the green shoots of paddy that are planted on this day. Harela is also associated with the worship of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, who are believed to bless the land with fertility and prosperity. Harela is celebrated on the first day of Shravan month, which falls in July or August according to the Hindu calendar. In 2023, Harela will be celebrated on 24th July.
Significance of Harela Festival
Harela is an important festival in Uttarakhand, and it is celebrated with great enthusiasm across the state. The festival is an expression of the state’s deep connection with nature and its dependence on agriculture. The monsoon season is crucial for the state’s agriculture, and the festival is a way of invoking the blessings of the gods and goddesses for a good harvest.
Traditions and Culture of Harela Festival
The celebrations of Harela begin a few days before the actual festival day. People clean their homes and decorate them with green leaves and flowers. They also prepare traditional dishes like Bhatt ki Churkani, Baadi, and Gulgula. On the day of the festival, people wake up early and offer prayers to the goddess Parvati. They also visit temples and offer prayers to other deities like Lord Shiva and Lord Ganesha.
One of the most significant traditions of the Harela festival is the planting of seeds. People plant barley or wheat seeds in small pots and place them in their homes or outside. The pots are decorated with colourful clothes and flowers. The seeds are watered every day, and the plants are allowed to grow for a few days. On the day of the festival, the young plants are uprooted and distributed among friends and relatives as a symbol of good luck and prosperity.
Another important tradition of the Harela festival is the community celebration. People gather in groups and sing folk songs and dance to traditional music. They also participate in cultural programs and share their experiences of the monsoon season and the harvest. The festival is a way of bringing people together and strengthening social bonds.
Benefits of celebrating the festival of Harela
The festival of Harela is an important cultural festival celebrated in the Indian state of Uttarakhand. It is a festival that is deeply rooted in the state’s culture and traditions, and it has several benefits, including:
- Promotes Environmental Awareness – Harela is a festival that celebrates the beauty of nature and promotes environmental awareness. By planting seeds and nurturing them, people learn about the importance of taking care of the environment and the role of agriculture in sustaining our planet.
- Boosts Agriculture – The Harela festival is celebrated to mark the arrival of the monsoon season and the planting of new crops. It is a way of seeking the blessings of the gods and goddesses for a good harvest. The festival encourages people to plant new crops and take care of them, which ultimately leads to an increase in agricultural production.
- Brings People Together – Harela is a community festival that brings people together in a spirit of celebration and social bonding. People come together to sing folk songs, dance to traditional music, and participate in cultural programs. The festival is an opportunity for people to connect with each other and strengthen their relationships.
- Preserves Tradition and Culture – The Harela festival is an important part of Uttarakhand’s culture and traditions. Celebrating the festival helps to preserve these traditions and pass them on to future generations. It is a way of keeping the state’s rich cultural heritage alive and thriving.
- Promotes Good Health – The traditional dishes prepared during the Harela festival, such as Bhatt ki Churkani, Baadi, and Gulgula, are made from healthy ingredients and are nutritious. Celebrating the festival encourages people to eat healthy food and promotes good health.
In conclusion, the festival of Harela has several benefits, including promoting environmental awareness, boosting agriculture, bringing people together, preserving tradition and culture, and promoting good health. It is an important festival that is deeply rooted in the state’s culture and traditions, and it should be celebrated with enthusiasm and joy.
How is Harela celebrated in Uttarakhand?
In the Kumaon region, Harela holds great significance as it represents the onset of the rainy season and the new harvest. This festival has become synonymous with the slogan “Save the Environment,” and schools in Uttarakhand often encourage their students to plant saplings either at home, school or with the support of local officials.
During Navratri, two celebrations are held in Kumaun – the first during Chaitra Navratri in the month of Chaitra and the second during Sharad Navratri in the month of Ashwin. These celebrations are also connected to Harela. Bhaitauli or Bhitauli is another ritual where girls in the family receive gifts.
The Shravan Harela is celebrated on the first day (Kark Sankranti) of the Hindu calendar month of Shravan, which falls in late July. Ten days before the festival, the head of each family sows five or seven types of seeds in buckets and sprinkles water over them. A mock wedding is then performed by young ones before people worship the statues of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati.
During Harela, people play a game called “Gedi” where children mount bamboo sticks and walk around farms. The harvested herbs, also called harela, are taken as blessings from God. Elders of the home place harela on the heads of others while chanting a blessing verse.
People also eat the seeds of the new harvest after heating them and meet their relatives to enjoy the festival. Some people sow the seeds of new plants in the soil or fields and join their hands in the form of ‘Pranam’ to save the environment.
Dikare or Dikars, clay statues of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, are also made and worshipped during Harela. The festival symbolizes the new harvest of the rainy season every year.
Harela is a beautiful festival that celebrates the arrival of the monsoon season and the planting of new crops. It is a way of expressing gratitude to the gods and goddesses for their blessings and seeking their blessings for a good harvest. The festival is an integral part of the culture and traditions of Uttarakhand, and it brings people together in a spirit of celebration and community. As we celebrate this festival, let us remember the importance of nature and our responsibility to protect it for future generations.