The bull by the horns

It’s true that necessity is the mother of all inventions. So scientists developed tractors and other equipments to increase production, which was not possible with the help of conventional methods such as ploughs and bulls.

Farmers started using modern technology rather than conventional methods resulting into lowering number of bulls in the country. But even in the age of technological advancements, bulls occupy the centrestage in the country. Worshipping of bulls for their year long hard work still is a festival in the country. Bulls are treated like family members, named like humans such as Heera, Moti, Hariya, Raja,etc. Bulls are still the backbone of many farmers in the country.

India, the country of festivals, has many festivities or rituals dedicated to the worshipping of bulls. One among them is Bail Pola. The festival is celebrated mostly in western part of the country. It is celebrated on the new moon day (Pithori Amavasya) of the month of Shravan, which usually falls in August.

Bail in Marathi means a bull and this festival is celebrated to thank the animal for all the works it is made to do on the farms. Though farmers use mechanical equipments for farming, in many remote places of the country bullocks are still used. This is the very festive occasion for the farmers as they pay their respects towards their bullocks.

This year Bail Pola festival will be celebrated on 25 August. The day before Bail Pola Amavasi, the rope tied to the ox is removed and turmeric paste and oil is applied to the body of cows, oxen and bulls.

On the day of Pola, farmers take their bulls to the river and clean them thoroughly. The day before Pola festival, farmers take away the rope usually called vesan from their bullocks’ nostrils.

Afterwards, ground nut oil and a paste of turmeric powder are applied on their shoulders. They then decorate them by painting their horns, putting decorative shawls on their body, ornaments on their horns and flower garlands around their neck. The cattle are provided special food prepared like Puran Poli, Kichadi and Bajari.

The bulls are then taken in a joyous procession accompanied by music and dancing. Villages have fairs, competitions to celebrate this festival. Many farmers also start the next farming season on the day. The farming activities which include sowing, ploughing, etc. starts only after this festival and the celebrations and is considered auspicious.

Pola is the main festival of the farmers of the Maharashtra, especially the Kunbis. Puran Poli, karanji and curry with five vegetables are the main dishes associated with this festival.

Maharashtra is a huge state and its most of the land is used for agriculture. In earlier time, bulls were considered the most useful and helpful animal for human being as they are used for agriculture as well as for other tasks. On the day of Pola, farmers show their appreciation and gratitude to their bulls for all the assistance.

Bullocks are decorated properly with ornaments and given a wonderful appearance. Bulls are then worshipped and offered special food on this day. Pola is the unique aspect for the Hindu culture that shows respect to farm animals.

The main reason to celebrate this festival is to show the respect to animals as we depend on them for farming. Millions of stars in the sky on this night form an appearance of wheat flourspread all over the floor.

Farmers enjoy this festival by playing musical instruments like, bugles, lezims, drums etc and dance also. This is also the main festival of Chhattisgarh.

In some of Indian villages fairs are also organised for celebrations and even competitions are also planned.

The key attractions of these fairs are competitions and some outdoor games such as kabaddi, volleyball, kho-kho, wrestling etc. In some cities and towns, people worship their earthen or wooden statues instead of bulls itself.
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