Bahula Chauth or Bol Chauth or Bahula Chauth Vrat or Bahula Chaturthi is an indigenous Indian Festival. The festival symbolizes the significant role cattle plays in the lives of Indians and Indian farmers specifically.
The festival dedicated to cattle welfare is typically celebrated during the month of ‘Shravana’- a very auspicious month of Indian Lunar Calendar. The day falls on the fourth day of moon’s waning phase, religiously called the ‘Krishna Paksha’. This year Bol Chauth will be celebrated on 18th August. The festival is primarily celebrated in the Indian State- Gujarat.
Bol Chauth exemplifies the sensitivity of Indians towards animals. The festival has a religious significance too. It is in fact casting light on the fact that Lord Krishna had a great love for the fauna.
Any image or painting depicting the lore of the lord shows some cows and peacocks in the background. Lord Krishna had immense liking for milk and related products. Cow, the holy animal which the Indians consider ‘mother’ itself was always found in the background of the most loved deity.
This day the farmers and their families are found in the mood of jubilee. The members of the agrarian households in Gujarat arise earlier than usual. They scrub the cattle to sparkling clean and clean their sheds too. The cattle are offered some rich delicacies and prayers are performed seeking the welfare, good health of the cattle.
Farmer-families consume food made of only millet as a ritualistic observance. The families usually feast and cook outside under the open sky. This happens to be a specific characteristic of the festival. In the evening there are prayers organized in the nearby temples and families gather to listen to the rendition of Bol Chauth Katha or legend.
The legend has it that a cow (some give the cow the name –Punyakoti) on its way to feed her calf was encountered by a hungry lion. The cow promises the lion that it would return certainly after feeding her calf. The lion agrees and the cow returns after feeding the calf, thus keeping the promise made. The hungry lion moved by the commitment of the cow sets her free permanently. The Bol Chauth Katha ritualistically marks the closure of the event.
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