By: Alok Singh, Editor-ICN
Harela 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.
NAINITAL: 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 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.
The mythology behind the festival is that it is celebrated as the wedding of Lord Shiva & Parvati.Harela symbolizes for the new harvest of rainy season.
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 .
There is one tradition in which the holy water is sprinkled on each and every member of the family after the completion of the worship for peace.
Young girls are given some gifts or pocket money on these special occasions. On the occasion of bhaitauli, fathers or brothers visit the places of their daughters or sisters respectively to with lots of gifts to make sure that they are happy after marriage.
It has become common practice to attribute a slogan of “Save The Environment” to Harela. Schools in the Kumaun area often encourage their students to plant trees, either at home, in the school or with the support of local officials.