Chherta or Khichharahi
The festival of Chherta falls on the last day of the month of Pausa. The ploughmen cease their work on this day and all their accounts are settled as the succeeding day. i.e. the first day of the month of
Magha. This day is considered to be the New Year day for opening new accounts in
Chhattisgarh. Fowls and goats are sacrificed and Karma is danced the whole night.
The Gond, the Bhumia, the Panka and even the non-
Adivasi boys and girls of Mandla district celebrate this festival to conclude it with a grand feast. Groups of boys and girls are formed and they go shouting from house to house.
The boys gather gifts from every house. Kondo or maize, grain, kutki and whatever received by them is mixed up in a pot and cooked at a nearby river or pond. The food prepared in such a way is called
Khichhari. Hence the feast of Chherta has the name Khichharahi.
When the meal gets ready a boy or a girl is chosen to act as a crow. Some food is put on a leaf-platter and placed on the ground. Then the boy or the girl acting as the crow approaches it to take the
At that moment all the children rush at the crow and beat it with burning faggots. The crow angrily caws at them a few times and at the convenient moment snatches the leaf-platter and runs away. After that all children sit down and eat their meal from the leaf plates. Towards evening they all return home.