At a Glimpse :
Place : West Nimar and Jhabua
Season of celebration : Annually, month of March
Main Attractions : Marriage market and village fair
Mainly celebrated by : Bhilalas and Bhils
In the state of Chattisgarh, there are various festivals that are celebrated by the village people. It includes Bastar Dussera, Goncha Festival, Sheorinarayan Fair, Kajari Festival, and Rajim Lochan Mahotsav. All these festivals are held annually and are celebrated with full enthusiasm and joy which unite the people together. Among all of them the most important festival celebrated in the state of Chattisgarh is the Bhagoriya Festival. This festive season is mostly celebrated one week before the main Holi festival. It is the most unique festival which is renowned for its nature in the world and is mainly celebrated between the tribes of Bhil in the territory of Jhabua in Chattisgarh. This famous festival reflects the varied Culture and tradition of India and also Chattisgarh; it also marks the spirit of tribes and village citizens who celebrate this fest with great enthusiasm and fun.
The meaning of Bhagoriya, which simply derives the phrase of elopers, it is a festival where the lovers are permitted to run far away officially during this period. The main feature of this Bhagoria festival is the gulal which is mainly used in the Holi festival and the betel leaf which plays a main role. As per the tradition of Chattisgarh, if an eloper applies gulal on his lovers forehead and if the girls responds again by applying gulal to him, then the male lovers is set free to run away. And the betel leaf is used as sign of proposal where lovers feed their own lover whom they like. According to the custom, if the betel leaf is accepted then it considered that the love between the two opposite gender is confirmed and they are allowed to spend their whole life together happily. Only after the proposal, the marriage between two lovers is solemnized. The marriage ceremony between two lovers becomes compulsory after the act of running away from the lovers and neither any one among two can refuse their eagerness to tie the knot with each other.
This process is just one of the parts of the Bhagoria festival, while there are many traditions and customs that are followed and celebrated by the tribes of Jhabua. Bhagordev is the famous deity of dancing which is worshipped by the village people during this festival in the state of Chattisgarh. The Bhil community is more into this process while celebrating this fest. This festival is the most awaited event for lovers, where during this period they can propose their love and also can seek a willingness to marry each other. However, the Bhagoria festival is celebrated with purity and no vulgarity is done that can make nuisance of love. The processes which are celebrated in this festival are supervised under the eyes of elder citizens and other respected people of Jhabua village. They mainly act as a witness for the entire sequence where the elopement process and expressing the love session is accepted. Unmarried and other citizens hail from near by villages and towns to be a part of this festival. Members who are unmarried come here with a hope to get their lover and marry happily for lifetime.
During this festival, sweets and prayers are offered to Bhagordev god, while the members of Bhil community exchange the wishes and greetings among the citizens. Once the maha puja (main prayer) is held to the god of dancing, sweets are distributed among the entire community members as Prasad (blessing of god in form of sweet). The prayers offered to god are adopted as per the celebration which includes dancing on the music of thalis and drumbeats. The music that is followed here is traditional and originally played from ancient times. The entire atmosphere is wrapped with purity and fun when the air is filled with music of flutes and shahnai, which are two main music instruments of India.
Tourists from all over the world hail here including the local and international just to be a part of the Bhagoria festival. If you are looking forward to explore the tradition and rituals of India, make sure you plan your trip to Chattisgarh in Jhabua village where this festival is held once in a year. It is celebrated in the month of March just a week prior to the famous common festival of India that is Holi.