Dol Purnima or Dol Jatra (Bengali: দোল পূর্ণিমা, Odia: ଦୋଳ ପୂର୍ଣ୍ଣିମା) is a major festival of the Indian state of West Bengal, Odisha and Assam. This festival is dedicated to Sri Krishna. On this auspicious day, an image of Krishna, richly adorned and besmeared with colored powder (Abir in Bengali and Odia and Assamese languages), is taken out in procession in a swinging palanquin, decorated with flowers, leaves, colored clothes and papers. The procession proceeds forward to the accompaniment of music, blaring of conch shells, trumpets and shouts of 'Joi' (victory) and 'Hari Bol' in odisha. Odia women wash their Angans with cowdung and decorate with rice powder and flowers. Milk items like home made curd, cream, butter and 'panchamrit' are offered. The people who accompany are offered sweets and drinks. In villages, drinks made of curd are distributed among people and rejoiced by putting Vermillion on each other.
Dol Purnima becomes all the more significant for Bengalis, because this is also the birthday of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1485–1533). He was a great Vaishnava saint, who popularized modern sankirtana. He elevated the passion of Radha and Krishna to a high spiritual plane. He underlined the emotional at the cost of the ceremonial side of devotion. Followers of Chaitanya School of Vaishnavism believe Chaitanya to be the manifestation of Krishna. Chaitanya Mahaprabhu believed that the essence of sadhana is always the loving remembrance of Hari.
Days of Celebration
The first day of Deul is known as gondh. In the evening time, the full incarnation of Lord Vishnu, god Krishna become ready to visit Ghunucha's (one of the wife of Krishna) place. His followers make a bonfire in front of the kirtan-ghar and with the beat of Vaishnavite drums, cymbals, idol of Krishna carried round the firework and then to the doul. During the festival, all the regular religious functions of kirtan ghar (prayer house) are performed.
The second day of Deul is known as Bhor-Deul, meaning main Dol. Bhor Deul is celebrated for just one day in the month of Chot and two three days in the month of Phalgun. The idols are coloured with faku on this day.
The third day of Deul is also spent in the same manner as that of the second day.
The last and the fourth day of Doul festival is called Sueri. On that day, god Krishna is supposed to go back to the house of mother Lakshmi from the house of Ghunucha. Devotees bring down god Krishna to a palanquin (dola) and carried in a procession. Participation of people from various regions creates a sea of devotees there. In the rhythm of the Vaishnavite drums, cymbals, conches, etc., Holi songs rend the sky. People throw coloured powders to one another. When the procession arrived at kirtan ghar, the gate is block with bamboos by the followers of Mother Lakshmi. It is believed that, Mother Lakshmi become angry with her husband god Krishna, because He stayed at Ghunucha's place for all these days. The followers of Mother Lakshmi therefore stop the opposite group from entering her house. But at last, the bamboos are broken and Lord Krishna entered the campus and takes seven round of kirtan ghar. ‘He tires and takes rest for a while. Taking advantage of the peace, a devotee from Lakshmi’s side ‘reproves’ him; one of his devotees returns the reproof. An interesting verbal duel thus ensues. In the end he admits defeat, like a peace loving husband, satisfies her with money and other presents and earns His admittance into the shrine. There ends the great Deul festival’ (Das, 1972:89-90).
- Verma, Vanish (2002). Fasts and Festivals of India. New Delhi: Diamond Pocket Books.