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Bhitouli-A tradition devoted to women in Uttarakhand

The hilly regions of Kumaun troop in Uttarakhand state have been safeguarding their folk traditions and festivals since thousands of years. There are many festivals which are famous only in this zone. A similar renowned tradition of Uttarakhand is 'Bhitouli' which literally means 'to meet’. The festival is celebrated in the month of Chaitra which is the first month of the Hindu calendar.This tradition is especially devoted to the married females who throughout the year wait for the month of Chaitra.

On this special occasion, the parents of the married female visit their daughters. They greet them with homemade sweets and clothes. After the marriage, the married girl is given her first Bhitouli in the month of Baishakh; thereafter it is given in the month of Chaitra.

It is an extremely emotional and heartwarming festival which always reminds the married girl about her parent's home after her marriage. The gifts given to the married daughters by their parents are wrapped with utmost love and blessings for their girl.

The Uttarakhand females are a special weft of the social spindle in this state. Along with dressing up their domestic work, the Uttarakhand females also work hard to manage fodder for their domestic animals. After shouldering all big responsibilities of their family, the females stay along with their spouse only for a limited time period. The males in hilly areas mostly migrate to various parts of the country in order to earn money due to which they leave behind their wife and family. Along with facing their hefty life, the married females of hilly regions accept all their sorrows and departure from their parents as a bad luck to them.

With the on setting of Indian summer when the nature blossoms with new flowers, the females of this hilly zone respite and remember their parents' love. During this season, the married females are reprieved with the field work and they eagerly wait for the Bhitwali from their parents.

This emotional awaiting time for Bhitouli is expressed by the singers in the form of folk song, “न बासा घुघुती चैत की, याद ऐ जांछी मिकें मैत की”

When the female's family visits her with Bhitouli, the entire family cheers up in a mood of the festival. The sweets gifted in Bhitouli are then distributed to their neighbors by the females. After this, the neighbors are invited to have the special puddings prepared in the evening. This way this tradition not only limits to a family festival moreover it marks social unity amongst the people of hilly regions.

The modernizing hi-tech world has although huddled the distances, but the emotions of a married female attached with her parents and her family can never lessen. And this is the reason that the tradition of Bhitouli is still prospering in Uttarakhand state.

In urban areas, although the brothers send money orders to their sisters in the name of Bhitouli,but in rural areas Bhitouli is still an occasion for the married female to meet her family and receive their immense love and blessings.

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