India | Himachal Pradesh

Chaitraul Festival

Chaitraul, often referred to as the festival of pictures, is one of the popular festivals of the Sirmaur area in Himachal Pradesh. It is celebrated on a certain day in the bright fortnight of the moon in the month of Chaitra. As a mark of prosperity, the houses are painted and decorated with figures of male animals and crops on this day.

The family deities are taken out into the fields, and a special dish known as Poltu is cooked. In certain instances, the deity is placed in middle of the field and a special savory gruel is prepared as offering. Poor are given food this day. A specialty of this fair is that clay pots are broken to get rid of the evil spirits. Another prominent feature involved is Khone, a custom of compromise between the gods and the demons.

To symbolize the custom, a man from a specific family come dressed in special robes with dark cloth hung near his neck and a cloth below his waist. He then puts on a demon mask, and the young men in the village bring a phallus-shaped stick known as Chaitral-Shid to tickle the khone mouthing obscene remarks. This continues throughout the night until the khone returns to the temple.

Updated on 19th October, 2015


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