The eastern zone of India is studded with rich cultural heritage whose history and legend dates back to the ancient ages. From being the birthplace of Sita Mata and serving as a seat of power to the greatest emperor to have ever ruled India, Ashok, to gaining popularity as a centre of knowledge and education, Bihar has to be one of the most underrated places in India. Bihar is also the birthplace of the 3rd largest religion in the world, Buddhism and is considered as a melting pot of cultures, traditions and beliefs. Here are the folk dances of Bihar.
List of the 14 Folk Dances of Bihar
1. Karma Dance
This traditional dance of central and eastern India, this dance is primarily performed by the various tribal communities of Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, Orissa as well as other parts of the country. The dance is performed mainly during the autumnal festival of Karma puja. The dance is performed in front of the Karam tree symbolising Karam Devta. The tribes strongly believe that this dance performance will please the karma god and bless the community (dependent heavily on agriculture for livelihood) with good-quality of crops.
2. Jhijhiya Dance
This iconic cultural dance form of Mithila and Bhojpuri regions near India and Nepal is dedicated to goddess Durga Bhairavi who is the goddess of victory. The dance is performed only by the women folk of the community and can be seen being performed a day after Navratri during Vijayadashami. The dance is extremely difficult and needs to be practised a lot prior to its performance. It involves women balancing clay lanterns on their head while also grooving peacefully to the music played by the men folk of the community.
3. Kajri Dance
Originating in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh, this happy folk dance is a way of welcoming the monsoon months. The dance is performed along with the presence of a Jhula or a swing song. It is a semi-classical dance which is mainly performed by the women of the community and since their livelihood is dependent on agriculture, the coming of the monsoon marks a very important part in their life. Women wear their traditional attire and frolic around to express their joy and happiness.
4. Jhumar Dance
This traditional folk dance of Bihar is performed by the rural women of the state. The Jhumar Dance can be performed on any occasion and there is no fixed event or festival for which the dance is dedicated. It can literally be performed on any occasion to express themselves. However, spring season is the time when this dance is performed in large numbers by both men as well as women. This community song-dance performance is a treat for the soul and gives a glimpse into the life of the people of the agricultural community.
5. Bhojpuri Jhumar Dance
The Bhojpuri Jhumar Dance invokes a feeling of joy, happiness and excitement among not just the dancers but among the audience as well. This dance is performed during special occasions where the dancers are primarily female and it is accompanied with traditional songs sung by the men folk of the community. The dance can be seen being performed during special occasions like weddings, events, fairs and festivals. The women wear their traditional Lehenga and dance energetically to the music.
6. Magahi Jhumar Dance
There is more than just one form of Jhumar Dance in Bihar. Continuing the list, this Magahi Jhumar Dance is another interesting traditional folk dance form. The dance can be seen being performed in the form of a duet where the male plays a husband and the female plays a wife in a make-believe sort of way. The dance and music lyrics are in the form of a back-and-forth banter where the woman asks for certain things like ornaments and bangles and the husband promises to fulfil these desires.
7. Jharni Dance
Jharni is a ritualistic dance performance that is performed by the Julaha Community residing in India. The people involved in weaving are known as the Julahas and they can be found not just in Bihar but also in parts of Pakistan. The dance headlines the Muharram Festival where the dancers use bamboo sticks that are split at one end. They then stand in circular formation and move around in this form while also striking the sticks of their dance partners. The dancers dance to the tune of the traditional instruments played by the men who accompany the dance steps.
8. Jat Jatin Dance
The Jat Jatin Dance of Bihar is extremely popular in the Mithila, Koshi region of North Bihar. The dance can be seen being performed during the monsoon moonlit nights. The dance is named and dedicated to two lovers that went by the name of Jat and Jatin. The performance is done among the male and female couples who do this dance as a way of remembrance to the love story of Jat and Jatin. Unmarried girls and young housewives assemble in the courtyard for the performance which is accompanied by drums that carries on from midnight to dawn.
9. Jhumeri Dance
Jhumeri Dance is famous in the Mithilanchal region of Bihar after the month of Ashwin in Kartick when the sky clears up. On a full moon night of Kartick the young women from these villages gather together to perform this dance along with singing and dancing to celebrate and mark the turn of the season. The dance is extremely graceful and is surely a bewitching experience to witness for the audience. The dance is also popular in parts of Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Orissa and West Bengal.
10. Sohar Khelawana Dance
The folk dances of Bihar have not dedicated just too agricultural or seasonal events but they are also dedicated to certain life events as well. The Sohar Khelawana Dance of Bihar is performed to celebrate the birth of a child. The arrival of a newborn is done with all the traditional rituals. Through this dance, the child receives blessings from their elders, well-wishers, Neighbours etc. The song lyrics sung during the dance compare the new born child to lord Krishna and lord Ram. The eunuchs also make up for a major part of the dance performance.
11. Dhamar Jogira Dance
As spring arrives in Bihar and the air is filled with the fragrance and colours of Holi, this dance is also performed with great vigour and enthusiasm. The Dhamar is a typical dance form that is accompanied with the Dhamar style of folk dance and is mainly performed during the Holi celebrations. Both men, as well as women, are welcome to do or be a part of this dance. This dance depicting the victory of good over evil is truly a magical experience. Holi celebrations in Bihar are truly an experience of a lifetime due to the inclusion of this dance.
12. Krishi Nritya Dance
A major part of the population in Bihar is dependent on agriculture for their livelihood so songs and dances being dedicated to them is very normal. Once the weather takes a turn to welcome the monsoon months, the people of Bihar spring to their feet with happiness. The Krishi Nritya is one such dance of Bihar where it is performed with perfect rhythm and synchronization. The name of the dance makes the idea of the dance clear where Krishi means farmer and Nritya means classical folk Dance.
13. Nachni Dance
The Nachni in the Nachni dance form of Bihar refers to the main lead in the performance. The Nachni in the performance dances with her male partner, who is also known as a Rashik. The lead dancer is also responsible for singing. The male dancer in the performance also creates beats and music through clapping and singing. It is a wholesome fun dancing experience for everyone. The dance can be seen being performed on various occasions and festivals. The dance is performed while being accompanied with various traditional instruments such as Shehnai, Harmonium, Nagada, Dhol etc.
14. Natua Dance
The roots of Natua Dance can be traced to the dairgaon and hazu regions. The dance is performed by the Chamar community of Bihar during special occasions such as weddings and festivals. The dancers of Natua are known as Natuas where the term Natas mean dancers. The dance is mainly performed on the lines of dance-drama where some entertaining acting pieces are done along with dance steps. As a part of traditions, the Natua Dance is performed along with the traditional instruments of big drums, small cymbals and Dhols. The movements are acrobatic in nature which is also combined with martial art moves.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. What Are Some Important Places To Visit In Bihar?
Ans. Bodh Gaya, Patna, Rajgir, Nalanda University, Dungeshwari Temple, etc. are some of the most famous places to visit in Bihar.
Q. When Is The Best Time To Visit Bihar?
Ans. The best time to visit Bihar is from October to March.
Q. What Are The Famous Hill Stations In Bihar?
Ans. Brahmagiri Hills, Ramshila, Pretshila, Gurpa Peak, and Pragbodhi are a few of the famous hill stations of Bihar.
Q. How Many Airports Are There In Bihar?
Ans. There are 14 international as well as domestic airports in Bihar.
Q. How Can I Reach Kathmandu From Bihar?
Ans. The nearest airport to the border is located in Raxaul and from there, you can get a taxi or a cab service for Birgunj/Nepal.