Vriksharopana and Halakarshana

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Maczora

On July 14, 1928, Rabindranath Tagore started the Vriksharopana Utsav (Tree Planting Ceremony) by planting a bokul sapling in Pearson Pally neighbouring. This tree planting festival, or Vriksharopana at Santiniketan, was initiated by Tagore regularly in 1936, and since then it has been continued as a Santiniketan ritual. This seasonal festival at Santiniketan is picturesque with its simple and artistic ceremonials accompanied by music, dancing, and Vedic chanting, invoking nature’s fertility and symbolizing its ever-recurring youth. Rabindranath had long bewailed the ruthless deforestation of the countryside In his own words, the poet said –  “The Creator had sent life, made preparations everywhere for the same. Humans out of greed provided ingredients for killing.  Violating the Creator’s intent, there is so much curses in the human society. Destroying the forests, greedy humans, invited their own detriment. Trees are assigned to cleanse the air, their fallen leaves provide fertility to the soil, and they are being uprooted. Whatever be the gifts of the Creator for benefit, humans having forgotten their own well being wasted them.” He wished to introduce a practice that would catch the popular imagination and make people plant trees for their love. Vriksharopana Utsav is celebrated on the 22nd of Shravan (7 or 8th August), the death anniversary day of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore.

Halakarshana (Ploughing Ceremony) is a symbolic tribute to the activity of ploughing the land. The ceremony aimed at endowing the work of ploughing with the dignity, almost sacredness, that was its due. An important dignitary is invited to drive the plough. Halakarshana celebrated in the rainy season on the 23rd day of Shravan (8 or 9th August).

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