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Dance Of Shiva (Please view in HD mode)


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  The ‘GAJAN’ festival is an event mainly observed in the state of West Bengal in India. According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva, the God of the ‘Kailash’ (the sacred mountain of the Himalayan range) was married to Goddess Mahakali. On the occasion of His marriage a ceremony with pomp and feast is observed every year, on ‘Chaitra’, the last month of the Bengali lunar calendar. On this month the faithful Hindus observe the practice of ‘sanyasi’ (Bridegroom’s party, where bridegroom is Lord Shiva), leading a spiritual life, fasting for the whole day and taking vegetarian food only once after sunset. During the last few days of the month, the ‘sanyasis’ perform various rituals related to the mythology of the marriage ceremony of Lord Shiva.
A group of people migrated from the Northern districts of West Bengal to the districts of Burdwan and Hooghly about hundred years back. They brought along with them their age-old folk culture, something different from the others of the area. The GAJAN they perform is quite different. People of the entire village attend the ceremony and take active part. They worship Lord Shiva and Goddess Kali for the prosperity and peace of their community. They dress-up themselves as various Gods of Hindu mythology like Lord Shiva, Lord Krishna, Goddess Durga, Goddess Kali, the Fairy of Heaven, the ‘sakhi’s (female friends) of Krishna, the dancers of the Heaven (Apsaras) and many others. Then they attend every house of the village and perform folk dances, chanting devotional songs. The elderly lady of the house, visited by the team of Gods and Goddesses, first welcome them with lighted lamps, sacred water of river Ganges, sweets and flowers. She worships them with profound devotion and faith. She bows and pays her respect. Then they start chanting devotional folk song in the praise of Lord Shiva in chorus. The sweet melodious sound of the chant and applaud of the children makes the atmosphere cheerful and jovial. Then they start dancing in the rhythm of the song, enacting mythological folklores of Lord Shiva. The program ends with the destruction of the evil demon ‘Mohisasura’ by Goddess Durga (another form of Goddess Mahakali, wife of Lord Shiva). Then they move to another house. The entire village get involved into the ceremony, enjoys the custom coming down from generation to next for hundreds of years.
In the previous years this ritual was observed with more pomp and splendour. With the advent of modern recreations, children of this generation are turning their back towards their age old culture. Getting educated in formal system of education children of this generation are getting busy in building their carrier, especially for getting a secured job. Upholding the age old rituals have now become the ‘liability’ (?) of the people of the backward classes. If this attitude is not changed, if one cannot feel proud of their own culture and come forward to save them then a day will come when father will tell his son “Once upon a time there was a festival called ‘GAJAN’...” and the son will search Google for images of the ritual .

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