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Gwalior fair and festivals

Fairs & Festivals of Gwalior

  While the traditional religious festivals of the Hindus, Muslims and other communities are celebrated in Madhya Pradesh asfair and festivals enthusiastically as in the rest of India, it is the tribal fairs and festivals of Madhya Pradesh, which are a celebration of the ethnic life-styles of the colourful tribes of the land.

The tribal festivals in Jhabua are marked by carefree revelry, drinking bouts and exotic entertainment like cock-fighting, uninhibited dancing, etc. The casual visitor often fails to appreciate adequately the genuine and strong tradition of democracy in tribal society, the harmonious living with nature, the respected status accorded to women, the amicable sharing of the community resources.

Tansen Festival

Every year a national level music festival is organised in November/December near the tomb of Mian Tansen, one of the 'Nine Jewels' of Emperor Akbar's court. Musicians and singers from all over India come here to perform in the festival.

Folk Dances

Ahiri Dance
This dance is related to people who have traditionally been in the business of cattle herding. In different parts of the state these people are known by different castes such as Ahir, Baredi, Gwal, Rawat, Raut, Gwala etc. These people believe that they are the descendents of Lord Krishna. Since this site is about Gwalior, here I am giving description of Baredi or Yadav dance of Bundelkhand only. If you wish to know more about dances in other parts of the state you are most welcome to contact me.

Baredi or Yadav dance of Bundelkhand
This dance has been associated with the biggest Hindu festival "Diwali". On the night of Diwali people worship Laxmi, the Hindu goddess of wealth (after all no body can live without money), and cattle. Next day on the occasion of "Padva" or "Parva" cattle are sent to jungles or ranches after being decorated with flowers and garlands. They are given special dishes as food. Yadav dance is performed on the same occasion.

fair and festivals Dancers dance in a circular path while singing songs. Sometimes they sit or lie down on earth and suddenly they restart their dance. Rhythm of the song is very low in starting and increases with time. Music instruments are started only when two lines of the song are finished. Primarily these are two line couplets. Sometimes these are in form of questions and answers. This dance continues till Kartik Purnima.

Dress
Dancers, instrument beaters and their associates wear a clean turban on head. Some people like to put on Dhoti up to knees (long cloth wore by men enwrapping their waist). Some people specially dancers wear colorful shorts. Dancers also keep bunch of peacock feathers.

Music Instruments
Mradang, Dholak, Ramtula, Dhapli, Manzira, Jhanz etc. are used in this dance.

Saharia Dances
Saharias are tribal people who live in jungles. They work in farms and also collect medicinal plants from jungles. There are several dances of Saharias. Some of the important ones are:

 Lur Dance, Lanhgi Dance, Dul-Dul Ghodi Dance, Raya Dance, Ada-Khada Dance.

Lur dance of Saharias
This dance is performed on the occasion of marriage starting from the day of ritual of "Haldi" (In this ritual whole body is pasted with turmeric and after sometime it is removed so the body is cleaned) till the arrival of Barat (Bridegroom comes to the house of the bride with his relatives and friends for marriage ceremony).

Lanhgi dance of Saharias
This dance is also known as Danda(baton) dance because Saharias dance with small batons in their hands with which they strike at each other and perform Lanhgi dance. Only men are allowed in it. This dance is performed on the occasion of Bhujarias, Teja ji puja and Aekadashi etc.

Dul-Dul Ghori dance
This dance is performed on the occasion of marriage by males. In this dance a hollow case of ghori (mare) is prepared of bamboo sticks. The dancer stands in the hollow place and dances.(depicts various movements of mare.) There is also a joker in women clothing. People sing folk songs during the dance.

Folk Poets

Jagnik
Jagnik was a folk poet of 11th-12th century. At that time some poets used to write biographies of folk warriors. These biographies were called "Raso". Jagnik wrote "Parmal raso" or "Alha khan" Which contains the description of 52 battles fought by Bundeli war heroes Alha and Oodal. The style of singing alha khand has a unique distinction and it is very popular in the region. Dholak, timaki, jhinka, and majira are its musical instruments. People who sing alha are called "Alhet". Lalloo vajpayi is a very famous alhet.

Ghag
 Ghag was a folk poet of Mughal period. His couplets are full of humor and normally have a message for common men. One of his poem is:

Ghar ghod paidal chale
Teer chalave been
Thati dhare damade ghar
Jag mai bhakua teen

In this poem Ghag is saying there are three types of fools in this world. First who would walk on foot even if they have a horse i.e. not using the resources. Second who would use Been (a sort of music instrument) in lieu of arrow i.e. doing wrong work. Third who would keep their savings in the house of a son-in-law because son in laws demand dowry in India.

Children Games
Cheel Pata Pat Ghaghar Gholi
This is a game of girls. This game is particularly played in moonlight. In this game girls sit in courtyard in such a way that their ankles and the feet meet together. In this position they sing "cheel pata pat ghaghar gholi" and clap once then they move a bit aside. Suddenly a girl say "furra" and all the girls climb to the courtyard wall the girl who does this in the last has to give "dav". Giving "dav" means the girl has to touch some other girl. Other girls try to run away from that girl. This game continues till that girl touches some other girl.

Aati Pati
This is a game of boys. All the boys stand in a circular path and choose a leader of the group. The leader of the group puts his hand on the chest of the boys one by one while saying “Aati-pati mar gadha ki chhati, Tera ladka mera nati, Ja le aa babul ki pati". On whomsoever this line end, needs to bring a leaf of Babul (Acacia Arabica). In the mean time rest of the boys hide themselves. When the boy returns with a leaf, he needs to find a boy. If he does then the boy who got discovered will go to bring new leaf and so on.