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Fairs and Festivals

Tripura is known for its composite cultural tradition to which both tribals and non-tribals contribute. This spirit is reflected as much in the delicately rhythmic physical movement of the 'Hozagiri' dance of the Reang tribe as in the collective musical recitation of 'Manasa Mangal' or 'Kirtan' of the non-tribals. The royal family of Tripura had always been a great patron of art and culture. After the coming of democratic set-up the state government has continued the tradition by according enough attention to the preservation and promotion of art and culture. Different fairs and festivals are now being organized at the behest of the government. Vernacular languages are being promoted by getting various literary works and songs of Rabindranath Tagore translated into local languages.
A unique feature of the socio-cultural environment of the state is people of both tribal and non-tribal communities equally participate and enjoy various festivals. Whether it is Garia, Durga Puja, Buddha Purnima, Kharchi, Pous Sankranti, Bijhu or Christmas festivity floats in the social ambience throughout the state, thus cementing the social texture further.
Some of the major festivals and dances of the state are:
garia_festival Garia – It is one of the major festivals of Tripuris and some other Kakborok speaking communities. Celebrated in the month of April it symbolizes devotion and prosperity. Garia is said to be the deity of benevolent spirit of household. Garia dance is based on this festival. The priest known as Ochai performs puja while festivity engulfs all during the festival. Youngsters sing, dance and play drums during the puja.
durgapuja Durga Puja – Basically celebrated by the Bengali Hindus in the month of September- October, Durga Puja is the worship of Goddess Durga. The volume and dimension of Durga Puja has expanded so much that even non-Bengalis and non-Hindus equally enjoy the occasion. The festival marks the victory of good over evil.
buddha_purnima Buddha Purnima – Buddhist people celebrate this occasion to mark the birth, enlightenment and death of Lord Buddha. It falls in the month of April. Although the occasion is celebrated all over the state, the historical Buddhist temple Venuban Vihar at Agartala becomes the centre of attractions wherein it is celebrated in a grand manner.
kharchi_mela Kharchi – This festival has still linked the past with the present. It is said that this festival or puja was commenced by the royal family of Tripura when the capital of princely Tripura was at Old Agartala. Now it is a universal festival that sees the confluence of people of different walks of life. Only head images of fourteen deities are worshipped during Kharchi. The government has come up with helping hand by sponsoring this festival since last several years. Not only religious worship and prayer, but cultural programmes also become its attractions during festival days falling in July.
tirthamukh_mela Tirthamukh Mela – On the occasion of Poush Sankranti a grand fair is held at Tirthamukh. Both tribals and non-tribals assemble there for paying holy tribute to their ancestors. The pious people coming here also take holy bath in the confluence of water of Raima and Sarma river, as a part of this holy affair.
bijhu Bijhu – Bijhu is the biggest festival of the Chakma tribe. Beginning on the last day of Chaitra of Bengali calendar year this festival goes on for three days. Prayer to Lord Buddha, lot of festive eating, music, dance, games and sports – all these become main activities during this festival. Further, it reflects their Jhum-based livelihood and social practices which are depicted through Bijhu dance. Falling in mid-April every year now a state-level festival is organized with the assistance of the state government.
owa Owa – This festival is celebrated by the Mog community on the full moon day of Ashwin of Bengali calendar year. Men and women go to the Buddhist temple during the day and in the evening they release paper and toy boats in the river. They believe that Lord Buddha sets out his journey through the land of darkness and lighted candles are placed to illuminate this path.
christmas Christmas – With the spread of Christianity especially among some tribes of Tripura, Christmas is now a big festival. The interesting feature is that not only Christians but also other religion-followers now started enjoying the occasion equally. Shopping, cakes, decoration, lighting etc. mark the day.