Tribals in Baripada get ready for festival of cultivation

BARIPADA, Aug 5 : The tribal calendar is dotted with various rituals that are performed in a bid to ensure peace and prosperity. The Karam festival, or 'the festival of cultivation', is one such ritual which will be kicking off tomorrow.
Tribals in several part of the district will celebrate the festival in a traditional manner. As well as wishing for a successful harvest, Karam has become an occasion for sisters to wish their brothers a successful life.

According to Mr Sailandu Mohanta, a senior citizen, the importance of Karam festival has grown over the years because people are at leisure to celebrate it, after a period of hard work transplanting paddy and other crops. It is generally celebrated from Rakhi Purnima at the end of the month of Sravana. Karam also provides an occasion to convey the principal of Karma as propounded in the Bhagbat Gita, he added.
"This mood of revelry continues till Dashera and Diwali," observed Mr Mohanta.

As per the traditional practice, tribals, accompanied by music and dance, enter the nearby forest area and collect a branch from the Karam tree. Almost every member of the tribe knows how to identify the species. They also believe that the two branches of the trees stand for Karma and Dharma. Then they offer Puja and the branches are worshipped. Then dancing and merry making begins.

According to Mr Balabhadra Mohanta of Sindurgoura village under Shymakhunta area of the district, the festival is being celebrated not only in the state but also in different parts of West Bengal, Bihar and Jharkhand.