Religious faith and Festivals of Seraikela-Kharsawan

Majority of the population in this district are scheduled tribes and mainly depends upon agriculture and forest produce. The main tribes of the area are Ho, Santhal and Oraon. Besides tribal population inhabit in this area who belong to religious beliefs and practices. Non-Tribal populations belong to other religious like Hindu, Muslim, Christians, Sikh & Jain and Buddhists.

Religious faith in Tribal community

The majority of Tribal population belongs to Ho community. Basically dependent on cultivation Ho communities believe in nature. They believe in Sarna religion .The village has its sacred grove Sarna place or Jahira where the village God Desauli resides with his consort Jahira Buri. Naser Bonga residing in water is the presiding deity of water. The main God and Goddesses in Ho community are: -

1.       Sing Bonga The sole creator of the nature and the principal deity.

2.   Marang Bonga  Next to Sing Bonga Marang Bonga is worshipped at the times of great difficulties.

3.       Deshauli  The God of village who nourishes all the human beings, animals, birds & trees and gives relief from disease, trouble and natural calamity.

4.    Pawnee  Associate of Deshauli who lives in hills.

5.       Nage Era and Bindi Era  water Goddesses who lives in lakes and ponds.

6.       Others  In Ho community there is a separate kitchen cum worship room known as Andi. After the death of a family member they establish the soul in Andi where the soul is being worshipped regularly. At the time of difficulties they worship them to keep their family in good health and peace. They use to address these holy souls as Hadanko-Tudanko, which means such elders who are in sleeping stage.

The priest or Deuri worships the Bongas on the occasion of every important festival. He offers prayer along with offerings of Illi or Rice-bear and fowl. To the Hos, diseases are usually caused through the interference of a evil spirit. To counteract these evils there are many Hindu deities such as Dehima, Durgama, Kalima, and HanmanBir etc. are involved along with the typical tribal deities.

There is no place for idolatry in traditional Ho religion. The religion is entirely practical concerned with happiness in this world. Hos believe that death is caused by the escape of the soul through mouth, nostrils or the eyes. The soul is ordinarily invisible, but may appear at will in any form. There is no concept of good or evil and corresponding belief in heaven or hell associated with soul.

Fairs and Festivals of Seraikela-Kharsawan

The tribal and non-tribal populations in West Singhbhum are almost in equal ratio. During the time of different festivals people maintain communal harmony, no matter which festival it is, they do not hesitate to invite their neighbors and friends to their houses at the time of festive occasion. Communal tensions and religious antagonism are rarely seen in this area.

Ho Festival: -

The Ho has to earn his living by the sweat of his brow. But the drudgery of economic life is intermittently relieved by a regular cycle of festivals. Each festival is marked by the following features:

i.       The houses are repaired, cleaned & painted.

ii.            Offerings are made in the sacred grove.

iii.     Excessive drinking of rice beer.

iv.     Communal dance.

All the festivals are based on religious faith. In each festival Dance, instrument and songs are essential entity to celebrate. They celebrate all the festivals collectively in mass with song dance and instruments. They never celebrate any festival individually .The main festivals are as follows: -

1.     Maghe: This is the most important festival of Ho community. This is celebrated during the month of February ? March. Every village has a separate date fixed for its celebration, which is done to enable the inhabitants of other villages to participate in it. Diang (Rice-Beer) flows in abundance and the young boys and girls dance with instrument and song. This festival is observed to bring prosperity to the community and for this Puja is offered to all their Gods.

2.     Baa: Baa is a flower. This festival is celebrated to mark the splendour of the nature during the month of April when all the trees in the forests are covered with flowers.

                3.     Hero: Hero means sowing. No one sows any seed before the celebration of this festival in the month of May-June. Puja is offered in the field.

4.     Jomnamah: When the first crop is ready for harvesting in the month of Aug-Sep this festival is celebrated. The first harvested crop is cashed in every house on this occasion. Those whose crops are not ready by that date, they get some grains from their neighbours who have harvested their crop.

5.     Kolom: This is a sort of thanks giving ceremony to Deshauli and Sing Bonga for giving good harvest and takes place either before starting the thrashing operations or when thrashing operations are over.

6.     Damurai: This is celebrated in May at the time of sowing of first rice crop. A male goat and a cock are sacrificed and the ancestral spirits are worshiped.

7.     Batauli: It follows Hero about in July. This is also associated with the fertility of the crops. Each cultivator sacrifices a fowl and after some mysterious rites a wing is stripped off and inserted in the cleft of a bamboo and struck up in the rice field and dung heap.

Santhal Festivals The Santhals also came from the Munda stock like Hos. But the customs of the two communities differ considerably. The Hindu custom and religion has influenced the Santhals more than it has the Hos.

       The main festivals of Santhal Community are as follows

i.        Maghe                        ii.    Baba  Bonga                   iii.       Sahrai                          iv.   Ero              

v.     Asaria                                       vi.    Hariar                                        vii.     Namah                          viii.        Ma  More

Oraon Festivals:

i.      Sarhu                 lii.        Karma                        iii.       Burih Karma

Christian Festivals:

       The Christian Community in this district celebrates mainly the X-Mas and Easter.

Muslim Festivals:

       Muslims in this district celebrates Id, Muharum and Bakrid mainly. Other community also gets themselves involved in these festivals.

Hindu Festivals:

       In Hindu Community various languages like Bengali, Hindi and Oriya are been spoken in this district. Hence all festivals of different speaking peoples are being celebrated in this district. The main festivals in Hindu Community are as follows:

1.   Makar Sankranti           2.  Saraswati Puja      3.   Maha Shiv Ratri      4.  Holi        5.  Raja Sankranti         6.  Ratha Yatra

7.Mansa Puja                8.  Chhath Puja        9.    Gangur Puja          10.   Durga Puja       11.    Kali Puja      etc.