Tamad, Apr 13: Tribals dress colourfully with their faces masked play ghosts and take out a procession dedicated to the Lord Shiva for a traditional tribal festival known as Koka which was celebrated recently in Jharkhand.
Every year, the festival commences in the month of Chaitra (spring season). Hundreds of devotees observe a week long fast and deck themselves in floral ornaments. The revelry begins with Holi and ends with the onset of monsoon and people believe that Lord Shiva will bless them by fulfilling their wishes. "We pray for our wishes to be fulfilled during this festival and wish for the happiness and prosperity of our family and hope for peace," said Lakhi Charan Seth, a tribal.
The festival has been celebrated for almost a century. "We have been celebrating the festival since 1913-14. We observe a seven-day fast on this occasion. People pretend to be dead and we bring them alive with music and drum beats and rejoice till the festival's finale," said Ratan Lal, a priest. The dummy ghosts or Kokas are the main attraction of the procession.