Sohrai Festival: A glimpse into the tribal harvest festival of Jharkhand

Twice a year, in the tribal villages of Jharkhand, happiness blooms as they get ready to celebrate the hard-earned harvest of their efforts. These nearly secluded regions from the rest of the country are preserved in their own beautiful ways. The streaks of strict discipline they follow are visible in how they keep their surroundings; not a thing feels out of place, and everything just fits right in. They take immense pride in their culture, and it is well preserved from the influence of the outside world.

The tribes lead an entirely different societal life in comparison to what you would see in a metropolitan city in the country. With limited interaction away from their own community, the people in these remote regions of Jharkhand indulge in cattle farming and agriculture. As a result, harvests are celebrated widely as a joyous event. The name Sohrai comes from the tribal Sohrai paintings that have evolved over thousands of years; from cave paintings to now houses with mud walls. Natural pigments adorn the walls of houses with motifs that are symbolic of the various values that the tribe abides by along with abundance and fertility.

This year, this auspicious festival was celebrated with Sohrai Milan Samaroh, a Tribal Welfare Project organized by the Rotary Club of Jamshedpur Dalma, Urjavya Foundation and Reteation Tea. To encourage and promote Sohrai mural paintings, we conducted a friendly competition among the villagers. This a small step to ensure that this ancient art form does not get buried under and turn into a mere forgotten memory. The villagers participated with much excitement and anticipation, truly ensuring to put their best foot forward. Three villagers were awarded goats and sheep to help assist with their livelihood. Apart from this, over 500 villagers were served a warm meal and we distributed blankets to all the participants.

Reteation’s goal here was to educate ourselves and our primary community about the Sohrai Artform. We associate ourselves with community development and the promotion of culture; through tea, art, music and so on. Reteation aims to provide a platform for ancient art forms and promote it amongst our global audience. We owe thanks to the Rotary Club of Jamshedpur Dalma and the Urjavya Foundation for organizing such an event and for letting us play a part in it.

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