Baripada: Karam puja is one of the major festivals of tribal communities in Mayurbhanj and some other districts. It is a festival that celebrates the grandeur of Mother Nature.
Tribals sing and dance to the beatings of drums while celebrating the festival. Thousands of people belonging to Kudumi, Munda, Oram and Bhumija tribal communities celebrated the festival Friday in rural pockets of Mayurbhanj district with traditional fervour and gaiety.
However, the celebration was in conformity with Covid restrictions this year, reports said. It is celebrated over a period of three to five days in August or September as decided by the priest.
The devotees go to rivers, creeks or ponds by wearing new clothes. After performing certain rituals, they collect sand in a bamboo basket and return to the village. The sand is kept at a designated place.
Seven varieties of grains – black gram, green gram, wheat, paddy, mustard, horse gram and flax seeds– are mixed in the sand. As per tradition, water is sprinkled on it. And the seeds germinate.
People believe that they are blessed by the deity. Next, they collect branches of Karam tree. They sing and dance while performing this ritual. All the rituals are conducted under the supervision of a village priest.
After the separation from the tree, the branches are accorded the status of god and the priest plants the branches at the centre of an open yard. Devotees dance to the beats of drums.
Laxmidhar Mohant of Durgapur said Karam puja is linked to Lord Bishnu, who loved to wear yellow clothes. The flower of Karam tree is yellow. Karam tree is worshipped to propitiate the Lord Bishnu. The festival is celebrated to remind the role of Karam tree in the creation of the world, he added.