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Gaajan/Charak: Festival to welcome a new year | new series on Photojournale by Santanu Chakrabati

Rituals to celebrate Bengali New Year are many. Rural agrarian Bengal used to welcome the new year with the festival of Gaajan/Charak. It is a month long celebration that spans through the last month of Bengali calendar, Chaitra. The agrarian society observes the ritual to pray for good rain and a good harvest of crops during imminent summer season. Once the festival was celebrated with much vigour and pomp throughout Bengal but now only observable in some isolated pockets and that too with a fast declining grandeur. Shiva is generally the central deity of the ceremony, however at some places some folk god can also be found as the worshipped deity. As part of the ritual some people from the community renounce their family life for the month and observe austerity of a sannyasi. They perform different physical feats and ritualistic dances as part of their worship. A fair is also organized around the temple of the deity during this festival.
Series by Santanu Chakrabati

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