Charak Puja

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Charak Puja
Charak Puja - Narna - Howrah 2014-04-14 0411.JPG
Charak Puja is being performed at village Narna, Howrah. 14 April 2014.
Also calledNil Puja, Hajrha Puja
Observed byHindus

Charak Puja (also known as Cadak, and Nil Puja) is a Hindu folk festival in honour of the god Shiva. It's held in southern Bangladesh and West Bengal on the last day (Songkranti) of the month of Chaitra (Choitro in the Bengali calendar), at midnight.

People believe that by satisfying Shiva, the festival will bring prosperity by eliminating the sorrow and sufferings of the previous year.

The preparation usually starts a month in advance. The arrangement team of the festival go from village to village to procure the necessary components like paddy, oil, sugar, salt, honey, money and other items needed for the ritual. On the midnight of the Songkranti, the worshippers are gathered together to worship Shiva, and after a puja, the prasad (items blessed by the deity) are distributed.

Illustration of Charak Puja from Twenty-four plates illustrative of Hindoo and European Manners in Bengal (1832) by Sophie Charlotte Belnos (1795-1865)

In one place, it is also known as "Hajrha Puja". Women fast before this festival. Sometimes male devotees swing from the pole by hooks thrust through their backs, the hooks being attached to the pole by ropes.

A similar festival in Maharashtra is called Bagad, while in Vizianagram, Andhra Pradesh it is called Sirimanu utsavam.

Charak Puja in Bangladesh[edit]

In Bangladesh, it is frequently found to take place at Thakurgaon district, Galachipa Upazila of the Patuakhali District. Goalkhali, Gabua, Haridebpur, Lalua, Lohalia and other villages are well known for "Charak Puja". Though the aristocracy and fluency of the festival is being deemed now, there are some who are arranging it every year with great devotion and dedication. It is a part of their life. The Most popular festival "Charak Puja" found at places like Dholar hat, Akcha, Gorea, Khochabari(Singia), Hothath para at Thakurgaon Sadar, same places of Tripura Dhalai District like Kamalpur and Kulai

Bagad & Sirimanu[edit]

In Maharashtra Bagad (Marathi language: बगाड) in Andhra pradesh Sirimanu festival is a religious festive tradition, where in ceremonial pole from auspicious tree is venerated in some village jatras in honour of local deities in Maharashtra & Andhra Pradesh state of India. Bagad is a similar concept to Charak Puja, Gajan (festival) or Indian parallel of Mexican Danza de los Voladores.

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