Karam in Jharkhand in 2020

Karam in Jharkhand in 2020

  Dates of Karam in Jharkhand
2020 Sat, Aug 29Regional Holiday
2018 Thu, Sep 20Regional Holiday
2017 Sun, Sep 17Regional Holiday
  Summary
A religious tribal festival that gives thanks to Karam Devta for a good harvest

When is Karam?

Karam is a regional gazetted holiday in the Indian state of Jharkhand on the 11th day after the full moon in the Hindu month of Bhadra. This means it takes place in either August or September in the western calendar.

Traditions of Karam

Karam Puja is one of the most popular harvest festivals of Jharkhand and is celebrated by the Baiga, Oraon, Binjhwari and Majhwar tribes of the state. Festivities revolve around the Karam tree. Almost literally.

This evergreen tree (Nauclea Parva) symbolises fertility and prosperity. During the festival, a branch from the Karam tree is carried by the dancers accompanied by singing. After being smeared with milk and rice beer, the branch is raised and the dance group perform around it.

The puja is dedicated to Karam Devta, the god of fate, power, youth, and youthfulness. 

As with most Hindu festivals, we can choose from a variety of interesting and colourful legends that underpin the festival. One such legend is the story of Karam Rani:

Once upon a time, there were seven brothers who toiled in their fields every day. They were so busy that each day their wives would bring their lunch as the brothers couldn't stop to come home for lunch.

One day, lunchtime came and went without the women bringing lunch. Arriving home, having had no food, the brothers found their wives dancing and singing around a Karam tree branch - in their reverie they had forgotten their daily task. The hangry brothers weren't happy to say the least - in a fit of pique, one of the brothers grabbed the branch and threw it in the river.

The branch throwing was to prove disastrous. Karam Devta had been insulted by this petulant act and economic ruin fell upon the whole family. 

They asked the village priest want to do and on his instructions; after which they searched for the branch which they found and brought home to worship. This repentant act was enough to appease Karam and sure enough, the economic position of the brothers began to improve. To avoid any repeat, Karam Puja was repeated annually.

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