||This article may be expanded with text translated from the corresponding article in the Hindi Wikipedia. (July 2013)|
Harela is a Hindu festival celebrated basically in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand state of India. It is celebrated thrice in year, the first two are during both the Navratis, Chaitra Navrati in the month of Chaitra and Sharad Navratri in the month of Ashwin. 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 Hindu calendar month of Sravan (late July). It is also symbol for the onset of rainy season (Monsoon) as Harela literally means "Day of Green".  Agriculture-based communities in the region consider it highly auspicious, as it marks the beginning on sowing cycle. They pray for the good harvest and prosperity.
The mythology behind the festival is that it is celebrated as the wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, with probable origins in Neo-lithic fertility festivals. The people make the clay statues of Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati known as Dikare or Dikars and worship them. Harela symbolizes for the new harvest of the rainy season.
The celebration falls on the first day of Sravan. Ten days before the due date, seven or five types of seeds are sown in the buckets by the head of the family. Water is sprinkled over them. After the due time before the actual celebration, mock wedding is done by small hoes . After that people also worship the statues of lord shiva and Goddess Parvati. The yellow leaves of the new harvest are cut and put on the ears . This is the symbol for the rainy season and new harvest.People also eat the seeds of new harvest after heating them.People meet their relatives and enjoy the festival. Some people also sow the seeds of new plants in the earth and put together their hands for saving the environment.
Harela has a great significance in Kumaon .This symbolizes for the new harvest and rainy season People also decide to save the environment. This is also a time to check whether our harvest is good or not.
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