Bihar is known for its fairs and festivals all over. Sarhul Festival is one of the most popular tribal festivals in the region. It is a festival of flowers, which you must witness during your Bihar visit.
The Sarhul festival is celebrated on the last day of Baisakh which in Gregorian calendar is the month of April. The festival reminds the joyous mood of people and is celebrated when the Sal trees bloom with flowers. The festival has resemblance of another Indian festival of Vasant-mahotsava. Vasan Mahotsava is a festival of flowers which is celebrated across India with pomp and joy.
The meaning of Sarhul is ‘Worship of Sal.’ Nature and soil have long been worshiped in India by masses and there is reason for this. People here in India consider both nature and soil the reason of subsistence. Soil gives them food and nature gives them compatibility to live with. Similarly in Sarhul festival, nature and the soil are worshiped; people worship the mother earth or Dharti Mata as Sita. Sita is wife of Lord Ram, a mythological hero in India among Hindus.
During Sarhul festival, the Sal flowers are brought to the sacred grove or sarna. After this, the priest begins to make peace with the gods of various tribes. Here you will get Diang or Hadia as Prasad. Prasad in colloquial language is called Diang which is in fact a kind of wine made of stale rice.
The Sarhul festival is celebrated in merry mood, festivity, and enjoyment among people of different age groups. Young maidens and youths sing and dance all night to the beat of the drums, while the elderly crowds, sit around, watch them, and enjoy their song and dance. The tribal communities of Oraon, Mundras, and Santhal celebrate Sarhul Festival in Bihar.
The tribal communities that celebrate this festival are spread in Jharkhand, Bihar and Orissa. The Santhals refer to this festival as Baha and celebrate it with great pomp and joy during the months of February and March. On the other hand, the Oraons, celebrate this festival in the months of March and April. They perform a traditional Sarhul Dance at this time. Sarhul Festival lasts for a number of days.