Pola is a marathi festival of Maharashtra celebrated in rural as well as urban Maharashtra in India by farmers as a thanksgiving festival in which Bulls and Oxen are decorated and worshipped. It is celebrated to thank the bulls and oxen for their contribution in agriculture by the farmers.
Celebrated in the month of August, Pola is celebrated in the rural Maharashtra by farmers communities. people wash their bulls and oxen and decorate them using haldi (turmeric) and natural colors and also by hanging new bells in their necks. The day is marked by public holiday and all the educational institutions including schools and colleges are closed. The offices are also closed so that all members of the family can take part in the celebration of the festival.
The festival is special for children also as they decorate small wooden bulls at their homes with colorful cloth and beads. The wooden structures have wheels below to move them as toys which are very attractive for kids in the village. they play all day with the wooden bull structures and decorate them with full enthusiasm.
On the auspicious occasion, all the houses in rural as well as urban areas are decorated with Rangoli (decorating the floor with colourful powder and making various auspicious signs and designs on the floor of the house). At night special lightings are arranged and earthen lamps are lit using ghee in every household.
In the evening, the bulls are decorated and made to walk in procession accompanied by local music and dance with beating of drums. Various activities are arranged on the occasion in the field and special food is prepared and served as prasadam.
After returning from the procession, cattle are greeted by the village elders of each family with earthen lamps and aarti is performed.
The festival of Pola is also celebrated in the Indian states of Chattisgarh, Karnataka and Telangana.