Phool Dei Brings Hope of Spring and Warmth Amid a Prolonged Winter
Even as it is still raining and snowing in the Uttarakhand hills, the folk festival of Phool Dei ,being celebrated today, has brought warmth and joy to people For the last one week, little children, braving the rain and cold, have been gathering flowers from the forests and fields so that they can place them in “Ringal” baskets and them shower them on the thresholds of hill homes today, praying for the well being of every home.
The fear of the Corona virus has ensured that most of the celebrations and gatherings were cancelled or postponed. All cultural and literary events that are held during springtime could not be held this year. Added to this was the rain and snow that threw a wet blanket over most festivities in the region.
Amid such conditions, Phool Dei has come as a breath of fresh air that has soothed people and heralded the advent of spring in the hills on the first day of the month of Chaitra. In this festival,young girls carry out most of the rituals and they are the most eager participants. In some places though, this festival is like a carnival and the celebrations go on throughout the month. Dei, a special ceremonial pudding made of Jaggery (gur) , white flour and curd is offered to everyone . Little girls go to every house in their village with plates full of rice, jaggery, coconut, green leaves and flowers. Flowers of Buransh , Kachnaar and Fyuli are prominent among the flowers used in the festival. The children, dressed colourfully, put forward their good wishes for the prosperity of the household and are given blessings and presents like sweets, fresh jaggery and money in return. The girls shower flowers and rice on the doorsteps and sing:
Phool Dei, Chamma Dei
Deno Dwar, Bhur Bhakar
Vo Dei Sei Namashkar, Puje Dwar
The festive occasion derives its name from the word ‘Dei’ which refers to a ceremonial pudding. During this festival, people of villages sing, dance and make merry to celebrate the harvest and to pray for the well being of their relatives. It is one of those times when everyone exchanges wishes of prosperity. Folk singers sing Chaiti and are given rice and other gifts as appreciation. This festival of flowers is unique to the hill state and has a dimension of colour and love. The innocence and goodness of the children and the newly blossomed flowers give a hue of tremendous positivity to all rituals associated with Phool Dei. It celebrates the rich biodiversity of Uttarakhand and brings in awareness regarding the environment among children .
Phool Dei showcases the inner bonding between the communities who all are residing in the hills. During the festivity, the young girls pluck the first flowers of the season. They not only scatter these flowers in front of their own doorsteps but also at the doorsteps of the other villagers. It is believed that these flowers are the indications of good luck. This is the best part of the festival. Folk singers of the village welcome the spring with their musical tunes. The drummers, known as bajgi, auli and dholi visit different village courtyards and sing these mellow and soothing songs.
The festive occasion heralds the beginning of spring. Anybody who is visiting the region during this time is offered the delicious ceremonial pudding . Money is also exchanged in the form of gifts wishing the well being of one another. Doorsteps are decorated with flowers to spread the positive message of the Phool Dei festival.
This folk , harvest festival celebrates prosperity and well-being and people pray for peace and joy. The purity of the celebrations bring happiness to all and an atmosphere of calm and rejoicing prevails all around.
Sunday, 15 March 2020 | Jaskiran Chopra | Dehradun
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