Every year my father took us to our shet (farm) for Pola. We would buy gifts for the shetkari (farmers) and help them to decorate the bulls. At times, we got to see the Paat or Sharyat (bull cart race); which is banned now. Big thanks to the PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals )
With time, we relocated to different cities for work and got engrossed in our own world; our farm visits for Pola decreased.
Now, I stay at my native town and every year I take my son to farm- to witness the grandeur of a Simple Marathi festival-Pola
As someone rightly said, ‘one starts re-living after they have their offspring’.
This year, on our way to the farm, me and my son had a small chat around Pola.
N – “What is Pola?”
Me – “Pola is a thanksgiving festival of farmers and their families for their bulls. It’s like acknowledging the importance of bulls and oxen, who are a crucial part of agriculture and farming activities. “
“It is a day dedicated for pampering of bulls.”
N – “How you decide, which day it will be Pola?”
Me– “On the new moon day of Shravana month as per the Hindu calendar (late August or early September).“This day is also known as Pithori Amavasya. Pitha, in Marathi means flour. It is believed that on this night, the sky looks as if wheat flour is spread all over.”
(Well! he didn’t pay much heed to this)
N- “How is Pola celebrated?
Me-“Farmers give a special wash to the bulls and decorate them. The women of the house worship the bull. Around dusk, all the farmers take their bulls to the center place of village. They all meet, show off their decorated bulls, chat and return to their homes.”
Meanwhile at home, the women prepare for big feast. Puranpoli (sweet flat bread) is definitely on the menu.
Also, elders give small treats to the bull bearers, mostly in form of money. It is called as bojara.
And we give thanksgiving presents to the farmers who work in our fields.
N-What do we gift the farmers?
Me “Usually new clothes;
For men its “Dhother” (Indian tradition wear-long cloth wrapped around the lower half of body)
For women its “Lugda” (Indian traditional wear -9-yard saree)”
N – “Oh! it’s like State Bull’s Day. I can call it so!”
Typically, I would say “Suit yourself!”
But I said – “NO! its POLA!”
Disclaimer : My belief systems do not endorse symbolism; but celebrations! After all, these small yet meaningful celebrations add up to theSimpleCharms of life!