Cultural Symbols || Rituals || Social Culture || Personal Culture

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Jharkhand was initially a part of Bihar and it also means the land of forest. The people of Jharkhand belong to different tribes. These are Baiga, Bathaudi, Asur, Banjara, Bhumij, Bedia, Binjhia, Santhal, Oraon, Birjia, Birhor, Chero, Gond, Karmali, Parhaiya, Chick Baraik, Ho, Kharwar, Khond, Kharia, Gorait, Korba, Kisan, Kora, Lohar, Munda, Mahli, Mal Paharia, Sauria Paharia and Savar. Though now the place is also being occupied by people who come from other parts of the country, the predominant population are the tribals.The population consists of 28% tribes, 12% Scheduled Castes and 60% others. Among the tribal population, the Mundas were the earliest prominent tribal settlers and the Santhals are the last of the tribal population. The people of Jharkhand strictly adhere to their tribal culture and traditions. The culture of Jharkhand can be best expressed as comprising the following:

These people mostly dwell in the villages and agriculture is the main source of economy and they are still not introduced to latest techniques of farming. The culture of the people of Jharkhand depends upon the community to which they belong to and accordingly it is influenced on their life style, festivals, rituals, music, language and literature. The largest tribal settlement of Jharkhand is the Santhal tribal community where they are concentrated in areas like Dumka, Godda, Deoghar, Jamtara and Pakur district of Santhal parganas and east and West Singhbhum districts. They speak a local language namely Santhali which is an Austro-Asiatic family.The people of Jharkhand are noted for their ethnicity which is contributed by at least 30 different groups of tribal community. The tribes of Jharkhand are mainly classified based on their life style. The Lohra, Mahli, Karmali and Chick Baraik are artisans by profession and those who live on hunting are the Korwa, the Birhor and the Hill Kharia. Agriculture is practiced by the Munda, Santhal and Ho. Oraon and Bhumij and shifting agriculture by Sauria Paharia.The Santhals are the largest schedule tribe of not only Jharkhand but also in India. They speak a tribal language, Santhali which is similar to Mundari language. They are supposed to be good in dance and music. The Oraons who are second largest tribal community of Jharkhand are the Dravidian origins who live in Ranchi, Palamau, Singhbhum, Hazaribagh, Santhal Parganas, and also in the neighboring states.

The vibrant culture of Jahrkhand is highly influenced both by the tribal and the non-tribal community people for apart from these tribal communities there are also non-tribal communities and followers of different religion like Buddhism and Jainism. Jharkhand locally known as Vananchal is noted for its rich mineral and forest resources. Being a newly carved state from the southern region of Bihar, the state has witnessed transmigration of various people from West Bengal and Bihar, retaining their individual cultural traits intact. This blend of various tribal cultures has made the culture of Jharkhand for the better. Some of the other features which add up to the culture of the people are their music, festivals, handicrafts, dance, cuisine and life style. The people of Jharkhand celebrate different festivals with the same enthusiasm like people in any other part of the country. Some of the major festivals which are celebrated with great fun and pomp are Sarhul, Karma, Sohrai, Badna, Tusu, Id, Christmas, Holi, Dussehra, etc. Chhath Puja is reckoned as one of the most important festivals of Jharkhand which is celebrated twice year, namely in the month of March and November. Some of the important tribal festivals are Karma, Sohrai and Sarhul. On the day of the Karma festival the devotees fast for about 24 hours and tribal dances and music are performed around a sal tree which is placed in an open ground. The Sohari festival is celebrated during Diwali and it is one of the long awaited festival of the Jharkhand people.

According to the custom of the people of Jharkhand, the ancestors are worshipped asa guardian spirit to the whole community. They follow the practice of placing the bones of the deceased after cremation under the sasandiri which also houses the bones of the ancestors. They are usually put in an earthen pot and kept there from the time of the cremation or burial till the time of the jangtopa ceremony when the actual placing of bones in the sasandiri can take place. Thus once in a year the family members will have to pay a visit to these burial stones to pay homage to their forefathers and ancestors. In earlier days they also had the custom of people belonging to the same community should have the same surname and they all settle down in one common area. But however now this is not followed. Endogamous marriage is normal with the exception of marriage to members of the Santhal, Ho, Kharia and Oraon (Kurukh) communities. When this is not followed they were very badly punished by the community chieftains and also a wedding between a girl and a boy of the same gotra is considered as a crime. But marriage is common between a girl and a boy among the Santhal, Ho and Kharia communities.

Most of the men of the tribal community of tribal groups like Paharis and the Santhals follow similar dress code which is distinct in appearance. The most common dress of the men of Jharkhand is a single piece of cloth known as Bhagwan. However the non tribal people of the state generally opt for kurta and pyjamas. The non-tribal women just like the men opt for modern costumes and most commonly wear a sari and a blouse. But however the tribal costume are the Panchi and Parhan. Tussar silk sarees, manufactured in Jharkhand are quite famous among the women and which are bestowed with vibrant colours and traditional patterns depicting tribal dances and generally the culture. The women also adorn themselves with gold and silver ornaments and at times the beaded ones. The major types of jewelry that they wear are neck pieces, earrings and ornaments worn on the wrists and other parts of the arm. They have lot of affinity for perfumes and their brilliant aromas.

Jharkhand food
The staple food of the people of Jharkhand is rice and wheat. The main items which form a part of the daily menu are phulka, rice, dal, tarkari (sabji) and pickles of different varieties. The outstanding feature of the cuisine of Jharkhand is the 'chhonka' or the tadka along with the 'panchforan' which is a mixture of five seeds namely sarson, saunf, ajwain, methi and mangraila. The people always prefer to eat food items which are lightly fried. They like to eat colored and spicy varieties of food. Mustard oil is mostly used in cooking. Also energy rich food stuff like powdered gram commonly known as sattu is used in almost all the dishes and also in drinks. However the tribal people have their own way of eating and their liking varies. They mostly prefer maize, edible roots, mahua flour, millets and tubers. They are highly influenced by the Mughal cuisine.

Jharkhand land
There prevails a favorable agro-climatic condition in Jharkhand and so agriculture has become one of the main occupation of the people. Some of the main crops grown here are rice, oilseeds, wheat, potatoes, maize, pulses, etc. and vegetables like brinjal, cabbage, cauliflower, ladies-finger, onion, tomato, peas, potato, pumpkin, mushroom, capsicum, green chilly, etc. They also grow fruits including mango, litchi, guava, banana, papaya, lemon, hack fruit, amla, etc. Mines and minerals industry is another major source of employment in the villages of Jharkhand. Animal husbandry is also practiced by the people where there are lots of cow farms, goat farms, pig farms in the villages of Jharkhand.

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