Chher Chhera, Puspuni and Pushyavishek all these three words are colloquial replication of “Pausa Purnima” which comes in the month of Pausa, the full moon day. For Odisha this day is culturally associated with Lord Jagannath where on the ceremony of Pushyavishek is conducted in the Sri Mandir at Puri. Virtually, unlike Nuakhai “Puspuni” is another dominating festival of western Odisha. Puspuni is commonly known as CHHER CHHERA. This festival is closely indulged with agricultural manifestation. After the end of procurement season the festival is celebrated. This celebration dislodge the valence between the poor and the rich, caste and creed within the social combination of western part in Odisha.
Specially this celebration designates a session of agriculture. In the agricultural society, there is a tradition of engagement of yearly servant, ho are known as HALIA. From this day the halias are engaged for a specific period for a specific amount and mostly the terms of the payment was through paddy. Which is calculated as puti (common word for measurement of paddy which counted through mann and mann is an instrument for measurement mostly made of iron or wood). The Halia’s are engaged for a term of one agricultural year and on the day of Chherchhera either they remain with the old “Mahajan” (a common farmer)or leave for a new one with some increased rate with one year oral contract. It is largely a community based festival related to the new harvest and celebrated through feasting and merrymaking. In addition, during this time the annual contract of land labourers or Halias comes to an end and payments by landowners and agreements on fresh contracts are finalised for the ensuing year.
This system is now going to be devastated, because of emerging modernization and rampant migration of labour from western Odisha to the southern part of India. Halia is somewhere in the old society, was a closely relative term with agriculture and culture of agrisector.
Another attraction of Chherchhera is the rhythm of boys, girls and also adults, the sensible music of Chherchhera with a dynamic musical call “CHHER….CHHER CHHERA” from door to door and mostly every households gives paddy as gifts, renovates a thought of unity among the villagers. On this very occasion most of the villagers have non-vegetarian food like mutton, chicken, and fish and some have alcoholic drinks like mahuli mad(liquor). In earlier days the drinks are usually prepared in local method. The tribal people use to prepare the liquor out of rice and herbal which was hygienic.
Chher Chhera is a great festival of western Odisha to accumulate the culture and agriculture, for renovation and thrilling sensation of brother hood among the people. Sensually this celebration makes the life brilliant, where small beats of happiness are joy for ever.
By : Sureswari Bagh, Research Scholar, PG Department of Odia, Berhampur University, Berhampur. (Odisha.gov.in)