Tribal festivals of India

You may be suprised to know that in India, 8% of the population is of indigenous origin, which represents around 100 million people and makes India the country with the most tribal people in the world. These tribes are called ‘adivasi’, literally ‘original inhabitants’. Some of them, like the Sentinelese tribe (in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands) continue to resist violently all contact with outsiders but most of tribal people have adapted to the modern world and have been integrated into Indian society.
The first people of India have not forgotten their roots though, which are expressed through distinct customs highlighted during unique ceremonies.

Dussehra of Bastar (Chhattisgarh)

Dussehra is a festival celebrated mainly in North India; It takes place after the nine days of the Navaratri festival and marks the victory of the God Rama over the king-demon Ravana or the triumph of the Goddess Durga over Mahisasura. However, the Dussehra Festival of the Bastar region in the state of Chhattisgarh is totally unique: it is dedicated to Devi Danteshwari, the native goddess of the region, and draws its roots and its originality from the tribal culture of Chhattisgarh…


Baneshwar Fair, the Kumbh Mela of Bhils

Baneshwar Fair is a huge folk fair held in Dungarpur district in Rajasthan. The 5-day event, which is sometimes called the “tribal Kumbh Mela”, takes place in January or February on a small delta where the Soma and Mahi rivers meet. It is primarily a religious festival, but it is also the annual get-together for Bhil tribal communities who come to pay homage to Shiva and Vishnu…


Gavari, the mystical folk-opera of the Bhils

The indigenous people of India (adivasi) are guardians of many ancient traditions expressed during festivals that can transport us to other worlds. Simultaneously, these traditional activities can evoke something somehow familiar, perhaps common roots echoing within us. Gavari is one of these festivals. This mystical folk-opera of the Bhil people of Rajasthan is expressed through several acts composed of incantations, sacred songs, social satire and ecstatic dances...


Bhagoria, the spring festival of Rathwas

Recently declared a “cultural heritage” of Madhya Pradesh, Bhagoria is a festival that not only celebrates the arrival of spring and the end of harvest, but also love! It is indeed known for its “vivaah mela”, its marriage fair. Bhagoria falls during the Hindu month of Phalgun (February/March), seven days before the Holi festival and it is celebrated enthusiastically by the Adivasi Rathwa and Bhil people…


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *