The culturally grandiose, Kumaon region of Uttarakhand celebrates many distinctive festivals that are famous in this zone, to name a few there is ‘Bhitauli’ which means ‘to meet’. This auspicious festival is devoted to the married females who wait for the month of Chaitra (the first month of the Hindu calendar) to celebrate the fest. The newly married women receive their first Bhitauli in the month of Baisakh after which it is given each year in the month of Chaitra. During this festival, the parents visit their married daughters and take delicious homemade sweets cooked with love. This heartwarming festival is very special for married women as it reminds them of the nostalgic memories they had at their paternal home.
The women of Uttarakhand are the backbone of the society and their contribution to fighting the social issues is exceptional. From taking care of the family, working in the fields, to bringing fodder for the animals she does everything without showing what she is going through. In spite of carrying all her responsibilities and being a strong pillar to her family, Pahari women don’t get much time to spend with their spouses as men move to the cities in search of a good job and for earning a handsome living to sustain their family. Apart from facing all the problems alone, the married women of the hilly region accept their sorrows and departure from their parents as a bad luck to them. With the onset of Indian summer season when the flowers blossom in full spirit, the females of the hilly zones respite and remember their parents love. During this season, the married females are spared off the field work and they eagerly wait for the ‘Bhitauli’ from their parents. This emotional time of Bhitauli is expressed by the singers in the famous folk song, “न बासा घुघुती चैत की, याद ऐ जांछी मिकें मैत की”| When the family of the married women visits her with the Bhitauli, everybody comes in a festive mood. Women distribute the sweets received from the Bhitauli to their neighbours and invite them for having a special pudding which is prepared in the evening.
By celebrating such festivals, Kumaon has not only preserved its culture and traditions but has also united the families of many married women, who have left their paternal home with teary eyes. In this way, the festival not only limits to a single family but it depicts the unity among the people of the hilly areas. Although, net and cell phones have bridged the distances but still the emotions of a married woman are always attached to her loving family which no cell phone or call can convey. And this is the reason why Bhitauli festival is so much popular among the people of Uttarakhand. In the urban areas, the brothers send the money orders to their sisters in the name of Bhitauli but in the rural areas Bhitauli is still an occasion for the married women to meet their families and receive their love and blessings.