We have such a diverse culture and so many festivals that introducing every one of them to our kids is quite difficult. But the Pola festival of Maharastra needs a special mention. Your kids definitely need to know about it. Why? Because it is a festival for kids. Well, kids and also bullocks. Now before you get confused, flare up like a bull and leave this page, let me tell you all about Pola.
According to Hindu mythology, a demon named Polasur in disguise of a bull, tried to attack Lord Krishna in his childhood days. But Krishna being Shri Krishna killed him. The Pola festival is named after this demon.
It is a two day celebration. The first day, also called ‘bada pola’ is dedicated to bullocks. You see, in earlier days, bulls were an integral part of farming. They were extensively used for ploughing the fields. While this animal slogged in the fields all year round, this day is considered as its day-off.
Farmers bathe and decorate their bullocks with beautiful drapes and ornaments and worship the cattle as a way to pay homage. They prepare a lavish meal, puran poli being an absoulte favourite among the masses.
It is just like a stuffed parantha where chana dal paste and sugar is combined and used as a stuffing. This year, I tried my hand at this sweet traditional dish of Maharastra and it came out perfectly. In case you are wondering, this is the recipe that I tried. Even Pearl, who is such a picky eater loved it. She nibbled on the roti and gave a wide ear to ear smile after every bite!
“This festival teaches your children that animals deserve as much respect as we humans”
The second day, chhota pola is dedicated to children since Lord Krishna killed the demon when he was just a child. Kids are given special treatment today.
They put on their best clothes and go around the neighbourhood pulling their decorated wooden bullock carts and asking for small treats from people. I like to think of it as our desi version of Halloween’s trick or treat custom. Even in urban this custom is loved and celebrated. Childhood after all is what if not playing with toys and roaming around the neighbourhood- Be it in a fancy apartment or a humble hut?
Besides the fun part, this festival teaches your children that animals deserve as much respect as we humans. I could not think of a better way to teach my child such an important lesson of life. Although Pearl is too small to understand all of this, I made sure she got to watch the festivities. She will learn the lesson when she is ready but for now she is amazed with all the decorations and her new toy- the bullock cart ofcorse!
Here is a picture story of how we celebrated it at our home
Pearl is excited when her bullock cart arrives at day 1.
She was obsessed with the bull’s horns and kept tugging her own hair. May be she was wondering why the bull gets to show off while she had nothing on her head. She rested only when I put this bunny headband on her head. Babies, I tell you! Don’t go by their size. They can beat you and me with their intelligence.
Do you and your kid celebrate Pola festival?
How do you introduce your child to our culture?