Matar Tihar — A Festival in Chhattisgarh that Celebrates Cattle
Matar Tihar is celebrated two days after Diwali and is mostly observed by the pastoral community in Chhattisgarh. As a mark of respect, the freshly harvested grain is first offered to the cows after which it is used for preparing local cuisines.
गाँव कनेक्शन 14 Nov 2023 9:50 AM GMT
The Diwali celebration isn't merely a day-long fanfare in India as it is preceded and followed by a cluster of festivals. These festivals are celebrated across the country with regional variations.
In Chhattisgarh, Matar Tihar festival is celebrated two days after Diwali and involves rituals that are based on the importance of cattle in a rural-pastoral set up.
The festival is widely popular among the pastoral Yadav community and the revellers are supposed to gather at a site where 'Kuldevi' or the clan goddess is worshipped.
Literally, in Matar Tihar, Ma means mother and Tar is translated as awakening her divine powers.
On this day, men from pastoral communities wear special attires consisting of armbands, turbans, sticks, and shields. They dress up as warriors and don their colourful costumes.
The ritual of tying Sohai (a special garland made of peacock feathers) begins by worshipping the animals. Raut-Nacha — a dance ritual also begins in the evening of Matar which continues till Dev Uthani Ekadashi.
In Matar Tihar, people gather and worship three components of divinity — Kudhaar Dev, Sanhada Dev and Pashudhan. They garland the cows following which they prepare food for the cows from the freshly harvested grains. The feast begins only after the cows are fed.
In this, tilak of cow dung is done by a member of the family. The entire household will eat food from the prasad (offering) made for the cow and at night, kheer (sweet pudding) is prepared from the cow’s milk. After the feast, a musical ceremony is ensured in which couplets are recited throughout the night.
Meanwhile, similar to Matar Tihar, along with the festival of Diwali, the festival of Govardhan Puja is also celebrated with great pomp and show in Chhattisgarh.