The bullock festival of Bhuban, the largest village here drew huge crowds as man and animal dressed up for the occasion which marks a 150-year-old tradition of owners allowing their bullocks to worship Goddess Durga.
The festival witnesses a number of bullocks, decorated with colourful quills, beads and ornaments,come from several villages. They move around in a queue from village to village – like pandal hopping for three days concluding today.
As the legend goes, bullock festival was started by Thoria community and later turned to people&’s festival. Earlier the villagers used to take bullocks as the only vehicle of communication and business to many places. For this, farmers take care of bullocks and get them ready to offer prayer to Goddess during puja. During Dusshera , farmers follow rituals and stop sending bullocks to farm . They don’t feed leftover food, serve only fresh vegetarian food one week before dussehra.
As many as 28 bullocks were decorated with ornaments, beads, bells, quills of canes and colourful velvet saddles this year. They moved around Gujirihata, Gopalmandap, Durga chhak ,Bania sahi and other community of Bhuban Town before reaching Jagannath Temple here.
They even participated in the immersion ceremony yesterday . At least two lakhs visitors thronged the village to witness the grand festival and immersion ceremony. Prior to the festival, the bullocks were imparted training to behave properly while walking alongside human beings in the procession. Each bullock is adorned with ornaments which is purchased by the concerned community of the village said Bipin Bihari Sethi, vice president of bullock festival committee.
We trained the bullocks a month before the festival so that they do not get disturbed by the sound of crackers and loud music etc. he added.
It is a unique festival and people of Bhuban have been celebrating it for more than 150 years, another octogenarian Ashok Prusty claimed.
According to Biswajit Baral, hailing from Bhadrak , “Bullock festival is an unique festival, where human society gives high respect to domestic animal. I have been coming here for last three years”.
The festival witnesses a number of bullocks, decorated with colourful quills.