Tribal wall painting is an age-old tradition. The personal experiences of the artists and their interactions with the nature are the biggest influence in these art forms. Khovar art was traditionally for decorating the marriage chamber of the bride and groom, and it usually depicts the animals and plants of neighbouring forests and valleys.
Any tribal festival is incomplete without the rice-beer called Handia, an indigenous alcoholic-fermented beverage. The indigenous peoples have inherited the process of preparing the drink from their forefathers as the craft passes on from one generation to the other since ages. Handia is prepared by mixing boiled rice with traditional fermenting inoculums.
Chhath Puja is one of the few all-women celebrations observed by the women folks of the family without the necessity of a male priest and the utterance of Sanskrit mantras. Source of the festival could be in the fertility cult prevalent during the hoary matriarchal/matrilineal days of the country and in the Harappan civilisation.
Sohrai is a winter harvest festival and one of the most important festivals of santhals in Jharkhand and West Bengal. It is mainly celebrated at the beginning of winter harvest, when the paddy has ripened, on the new moon day of the Bengali month of Kartik, coinciding with Diwali or Kali puja, in the month of October-November.
Makar Sankranti is about nature, energy of the sun, harvest of new crop, and progress of mankind. It marks the end of Malmaas, an inauspicious month in the Hindu (Panchang) calendar, and the transition of the Sun to the zodiacal sign of Makar (Capricorn) to herald a change in season.
Annakoot — Mountain of food — is celebrated in observance of the episode in Sri Krishna’s childhood, in which He gave protection to the cowherd clan of Vrindavan from the wrath of Indra and humbled Indra in that process. The cowherd, their wives, children and cattle jubilantly surrounded Sri Krishna. They were awed by His superhuman accomplishment and celebrated Sri Krishna’s feat with a sumptuous feast. Thus began the tradition of Annakoot.
People of eastern Indian states of West Bengal, Assam and Orissa worship Goddess Laksmi on Kojagori Purnima night — the full moon night in the month of Ashwin of Bengali calendar, just four days after Vijaya Dashami or Dusshera — the last day of the Durga puja in the month of October. Kojagori Purnima coincides with Nabanna or the harvesting festival or season which commences from this day when the harvested grains are consumed in households.
The Karma Puja is a festival of agriculture and is very sacred to the indigenous peoples in the Indian states of Jharkhand, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, West Bengal and Assam. Tribes like Baiga, Oraon, Binjhwari, Munda, Majhwar, Ho, Khortha, Korba, Santhal, Nagpuri and many more tribal communities celebrate this festival.