Three Puja in one Day
On 17th September we celebrated three festivals, or Pujas, in one day. They are called Chata Parab, the worship of Biswakarma and Jita Puja.
Chata Parab is the Umbrella Festival. The tribal kings of the Purulia region began celebrating it during the Mongol period in India. The story behind this Puja is that the Mongols attacked us many times, but failed at every attempt because the tribal soldiers employed secret fighting techniques and on account of their great courage. When it became clear that the Mongols had finally given up trying to defeat us, all the tribes decided to mark this day as a remembrance of their collective and unified victory. This occasion of celebration has continued to this day. Today, just as did the tribal kings, families hoist an umbrella. The symbolic meaning is that, when the need occurs, all tribals can join together under the umbrella of one single king.
Another celebration on the 17th is the worship Biswakarma, god of engineering. All types of machinery are worshiped. For example, we all honour our motor vehicles by washing them, be they of the four or two wheeled variety.
And finally, on this day the women also celebrate Jita. This event is concerned with agriculture and seeds. We believe the women of Raha discovered the way seeds germinate and used this knowledge to develop the techniques we now use for seeding paddies. This day gives the women an opportunity to mark their achievement and celebrate it. They also pray for the future of their children, that it will be a good and healthy one.
This is the meaning of Jita to people today. The ancient spiritual meaning underlying the ritual is concerned with the creation of life. The leaves are in the shape of a woman’s vagina and represented fertility. Pieces of cucumber placed on each leaf represent the man’s penis and the power of nature.
Biswakarma, god of engineering, is worshiped on this day all over India. Jita Puja and Chata Parab are observed here in the area which includes Purulia and in ancient times comprised the former Raha Kingdom. This area is now split into parts of four States: West Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and a small part of Jharkhand. We now look forward to the first week of October, to the biggest festival of them all: Dhurga Puja.