March, marks the beginning of the beautiful season of spring; the Devbhoomi, Uttarakhand celebrates its Phool Sankranti festival popularly known as the ‘Phool Dei’ festival to welcome the season. This Pahari festival is celebrated with pomp and show during Makar Sankranti in the Kumaon and Garhwal regions of Uttarakhand.
In this season, during the festival, snow melts from the Himalayas, and the evergreen rhododendron tree blooms with scarlet flowers and the lush green Himalayan foothills showcase their scenic beauty to attract every individual who visits the state.
People, especially the children, enjoy the Phool Dei festival; they delight in the festivity and wake up early to bring the flowers from the forests to celebrate the festival. Children especially young girls collect the first flowers of Phyunli, Buras, and Basing, very famous in the Himalayan hilly regions.
After collecting the flowers, they bring a platter or ringaal basket ( one of the species of bamboo wood) in which they keep the green leaves, jaggery, coconut and fresh flowers to visit and greet people of the village.
The young maidens and kids visit every house of the village and put first flowers of the season on the doorsteps to bring good luck and blessings to the family members. Groups of kids sing the LokGeet song of the festival and spread flowers and rice grains on the doorstep of every household to greet and cheers the Phool Dei.
The festival is all about bringing happiness, prosperity and well-being of everybody and offers each other jaggery, rice, coconut and money. The young girls visit every house in the village and sing this famous song
फूल देई, छम्मा देई, देणी द्वार, भर भकार,
ये देली स बारम्बार नमस्कार,
फूले द्वार……फूल देई-छ्म्मा देई।.
The song means to bring happiness, prosperity and wealth to the people of the village and all over the world, especially to the house they visit.
This festival is incomplete without the special pudding called ‘Sei’ which is a traditional Pahari cuisine, made of rice flour kneaded with curd, jaggery, and sugar. The folk singers celebrate the day in their own style by singing the soulful songs of Riturain and Chaiti, Pahari drummers referred to as Bajgi, Auli and Dholi visit villages and celebrate the festival.
On the other hand, in the mystic valley of the western Himalayas, especially in Pauri Garhwal region, the Phool Dei festival is celebrated in the whole month of the spring season. The festival still brings the same joy and happiness to the kids, and children with full of zest every year celebrates the Phool Dei.