The students of Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) Deemed to be University, jointly celebrated the SARHUL FESTIVAL of the Oraon Community, CHAIT PARAB of the Kandha Community, and VIJA PANDUM of the Koya community on April 18, 2024, at Campus-4. Professor A. B. Ota, IAS (Retd.), Professor Emeritus, and Professor K. K. Misra, Professor Emeritus, KISS-DU graced the occasion as the Chief Guest. Among others, Hon’ble Pro-Chancellor, Professor Amareswar Galla attended the event virtually, Vice Chancellor Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, Dr. Prashanta Kumar Routray Registrar, and other senior functionaries also graced the occasion along with the faculty members and research scholars. The University is committed to safeguarding, promoting, and conserving indigenous cultural heritage, rituals, and traditions, fostering harmony with nature.

Sarhul is celebrated by the Oraon, Munda, Ho, and Santal communities. It is dedicated to worshiping trees, especially the sacred tree called Sal (Shorearobusta). The festival marks the beginning of the New Year for these communities and is celebrated to seek blessings from nature for a good harvest and prosperity.

Chait Parab marks the arrival of spring and is dedicated to the worship of their deity, Marangburu, who is believed to be the provider of prosperity and well-being. Chaita Parab holds significant cultural and religious importance for the Kandha community, as it is a time for them to express gratitude to their deity for the blessings of nature and to seek his continued protection and prosperity for the community.

Vija Pandum is primarily a festival of nature worship, celebrating the arrival of spring and the beginning of the agricultural season. During Vija Pandum, the Koya community offers prayers to the Earth Goddess for a bountiful harvest, prosperity, and well-being. It fosters a sense of unity, identity, and belonging among the people, while also reinforcing their connection to nature and the agricultural cycle.

These festivals involve identifying the principles and objectives of the SDGs that intersect with the cultural practices, values, and concerns represented by the Sarhul, Chait, and Vija Festivals. Celebrating Nature and the environment, emphasizing the importance of preserving forests and diversity aligns with SDG 15’s aim to protect terrestrial ecosystems. They also include rituals and practices that promote environmental stewardship and climate resilience, supporting efforts to combat climate change through SDG 13.

Professor Deepak Kumar Behera, Hon’ble Vice Chancellor, Dr. Prashanta Kumar Routray, Registrar, Dr. Kanhu Charan Mahali, Director General, spoke about the significance and importance of this festival and encouraged the students to organize such important festivals and activities every month by all tribal communities. The celebration was organized by the Research Scholars of KISS-DU under the facilitation of Dr. Arpana Premi Lina Oraon, Associate Professor, KISS-DU. They brought in traditional and cultural ethos on KISS-DU premises by performing Kudukh, Kuvi, and Koya songs and traditional dance.