Uttarakhand Festival : Harela ‘हरेला’

Greetings to Bedupako.com members and supporters and heartiest thanks for staying connected. Today, on the auspicious occasion of Harela, Team Bedupako.Com conveys many wishes to you, your family & loved ones . As mother natures turns green, may your life fill with happiness in all spheres of life.

Harela (हरेला) is a renowned Uttarakhandi festival celebrated in and around the foot hills of Himalayas to warmly welcome the rainy season every year. It’s celebrated on the first day of  the month of ‘Shravan’ or ‘Saavan‘ as per Uttarakhandi Panchanga.

Ten days before the actual celebration, seeds of five or seven types of grains from amongst Maize (Zea maize), Mustard (Brassica spp.), Gahaut (Macrotyloma uniflorum or legume), Jau (Hordeum vulgare), Wheat (Triticum aestivum), Traditional land race(s) of Paddy (Oryza sativa), Mass (Vigna sp.) and Bhatt (Glycine sp) etc. are mixed and sown in a pot or flat wooden pane called ‘chauk’ in a dark room where sunlight doesn’t help the seeds in growth. Water is sprinkled once or twice every day all along until the final worship day arrives. Besides this, gaily painted sculptures of Lord Shiva, Parvati and their offsprings are also prepared for worship. A day before the actual celebration (i.e. last day of the month ‘Aasaad’) mock tilling is performed in this pot with small wooden hoe. Finally, the seedlings are cut ceremoniously either by head of the family or the family priest followed by placing these yellowish-green shoots (called Harela) on ears and head of all family members.

Times are changing and so are ways to celebrate festivals . Traditionally, in an Uttarakhandi family  parents or grandparents blessed the kids and youngsters with the words ,”JEE RAYA JAGI RAYA, DUBE JAI PANAPIYA, SHERAK JAI TARAAN HOO,  SYAU JAI BUDHDHI HOO, GAONK PADHAAN HAI JAYA..” .. I might have missed a few blessings here… :)  For kids, the occasion also serves as an opportunity to add a little more to their pocket money..for elder’s blessings are accompanied by some money for sweets :) :)

The essence of Harela lies in the fact that it provides farmers with an opportunity to check the quality and/or flaws of seeds on small scale, which eventually helps them to plan a wiser strategy for mass scale cultivation. Owing to a lot of reasons the area under traditional crops is declining very fast but undoubtedly many of the crop varieties are still conserved because of their socio-cultural and religious values. The role of socio-cultural values in biodiversity conservation is an integral part of the people living in Uttarakhand and Harela plays a significant role in the same. This persuades people to conserve and manage their traditional crop diversity.

Despite globalization, there still exist many conventions and regulations set up by our ancestors for the protection and management of handful of resources. To a certain extent the present generation is going through the same beliefs following the ideas initiated by our ancestors for conservation and management of the resources that could lead to a greener ambiance.
Keeping the rapid socio-economic and cultural changes taking place in the society in view these activities need to be emphasized in detail. I am sure the effect of global warming is untouched or unknown to none…..it is high time for all of us to introspect our responsibilities towards greener earth !!!!.
Team Bedupako.Com is elated and excited to launch Uttarakhand’s first e-greeting websitetoday… Now you can wish your family, friends and well wishers on all of Uttarakhand’s festivals & fairs through e-greetings from www.UttarakhandGreetings.Com. We sincerely hope that you would show the same affection and support to www.UttarakhandGreetings.Com as you you did and do to Uttarakhand’s first global radio www.UttarakhandRadio.com
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