Fairs and festivals are integral part of culture and history of Bihar. People in Bihar celebrate traditional and religious fairs and festivals with enthusiasm. These fairs and festivals facilitate greater cohesive opportunity to the people of Bihar. Since Bihar has been a hot pot of culture of India, many myths and anecdotes are related to fairs and festivals of the land. Most of the fairs and festivals are associated with some kind of historical event.
These festivals and fairs are showcase of culture and lifestyle of the people of Bihar. While some festivals are of religious nature, some highlight the cultural wealth of the state, vibrant in myriad colors and forms. Sonepur Cattle Fair, Nag Panchmi, Makar Sankranti Mela and Pitrapaksha Mela are a few of the many names that come up in the Bihar calendar of fairs and festivals. Chaath puja is Biharís prime festival - an expression of seeking blessings from the forces of the nature representing the amalgamation of the Vedic and non-Aryan religion.
Some of the major festivals and fairs are mentioned bellow.
Situated on the confluence of rivers Ganges and Gandak, Sonepur is 35 km from vaishali. The place hosts the Asiaís largest animal fair, which starts from Kartik full moon day (Oct /Nov). Sellers and buyers from across the country come here for transaction.
The festival is known as Tila Sankrati among locals. People believe that from this day onwards the days become longer. Observed on January 14 every year, the festival shows the benevolence of Indian people. People celebrate it by giving offerings to the poor.
Chatth Puja is major festival celebrated in Bihar. People worship the Sun god and offer prayers. For the people of Bihar, Chhath is the most important festivals and they celebrate it no matter where they are!
Held in Gaya in the month of September, the Pitrapaksha Mela attracts people from all over the country. Every person prays god that he be blessed with a son who would offer him pinda daan (lymph of rice) at Gaya. The ‘Pindaadan’ offered here by the relatives of the dead is a must for the ‘moksha’ of the soul.
To commemorate the returning of Lord Rama after 14 years of exile, Hindus all across India celebrate this festival. On this day people observe fast and offer prayers in his honor.
People in Mithila region celebrate this festival with pomp. During this time versatile and colourful birds migrate from Himalaya to the plains and the whole thing gives beautiful feeling. The people of Mithila dedicate this festival to celebrate the brother sister relationship.
The festival, celebrated with the purpose of maintaining the righteous lifestyle, has great popularity among Mithila population. The festival is celebrated in the month of August.