If you're visiting Uttarakhand for the first time,
you should make sure to participate at atleast one or two festivals in
the state. Witnessing the rich cultural traditions during the festive
time is a unique experience in itself. Though people in the state
celebrate many major Indian festivals, they also celebrate a wide range
of regional festivals. One of these festivals (held in the Kumaon
region) is the Harela and Bhaitauli or Bhitauli festival. Every year on
the 9th day of the Navratri, women of the Kumaon area fill up baskets
with soil and sow in the seeds of seven types of grains.
On the 10th day after sowing the grains, leaves start to come out in yellow colors. These yellow-colored leaves are called Harela. As soon as these leaves come out, people pluck them and adorn their heads and ears with the same. Brothers also present their sisters with beautiful gifts.
The Harela festival is celebrated with much enthusiasm in the month of Shravan every year. On the one hand, the Harela festival welcomes the new harvest. On the other, it commemorates the mythological wedding of Lord Shiva with Parvati. Young girls are provided with pocket money while overworked bullocks are offered rest.