Posts Tagged ‘Harela’

Naini Valley Wishes you a very Happy Harela

Harela is a Hindu festival celebrated in the Indian state of Uttarakhand and in some regions of Himachal Pradesh. This festival is very popular in the Kumaun region of Uttarakhand, and is celebrated by the name Harela (हरेला). This name is used in some places of Garhwal but, it is not commonly used, as the festival is celebrated as Mol-Sankranti (म्वोळ-संक्रांति) or as Rai-Sagrān (रै-सग्रान). It is called Hariyali/Rihyali in Kangra, Shimla and Sirmour regions, Dakhrain in Jubbal and Kinnaur regions of Himachal Pradesh. This festival is celebrated on the first day of Shravan-Maas (Shravan-Sankranti/Kark-Sankranti), as per the Hindu Luni-Solar calendar. This festival marks the onset of the Rainy-Season (Monsoon).They pray for a good harvest and prosperity. Harela means “Day of Green”, and Agriculture-based communities in the region consider it highly auspicious, as it marks the beginning of the sowing cycle in their fields. Multiple Kauthigs/Thols/Melas (Fairs) are also organized on this festival.

Harela has a great significance in Kumaon. This symbolizes a new harvest and the rainy season. It has become a common practice to attribute a slogan of – “Save The Environment” to Harela. Schools in Uttarakhand often encourage their students to plant saplings either at home, school or with the support of local officials. In Kumaun, the two celebrations during Navrati – first during Chaitra Navrati in the month of Chaitra, and second during Sharad Navratri in the month of Ashwin, is also considered to be connected to Harela. This is followed by Bhaitauli or Bhitauli wherein gifts are given to girls of the family. The Shravan Harela is celebrated as the first day (Kark Sankranti) of the Hindu calendar month of Shravan (late July). Ten days before the due date, 5 or 7 types of seeds are sown in buckets by the head of every family. Water is then sprinkled over them. After the due time, but before the actual celebration, a mock wedding is done by young ones. This is followed by people worshiping the statues of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. It is also marked by playing ‘Gedi’. It is a game where small children mount on bamboo sticks and walk around farms. The harvested herbs (also called by the same name, harela) are taken as God’s blessings. Elders of the home put harela on the heads of others, touching the harela from their head to feet. A blessing verse is also chanted while putting harela. This is the symbol for the rainy season and the new harvest. People also eat the seeds of the new harvest after heating them. People meet their relatives, and enjoy the festival. Some people also sow the seeds of new plants in the soil or fields and join their hands in the form of ‘Pranam’ for saving the environment. People make clay statues of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati known as Dikare or Dikars, and worship them. Harela symbolizes the new harvest of the rainy season every year.