Chaitra Sangkranti Mela
Chaitra Sangkranti Mela is a folk fair taking place on the last day of the Bangla month of Chaitra. In Hindu culture, the last day of a Bangla month is called sangkranti, but the last day of the month of Chaitra is considered particularly auspicious. Traditionally, the occasion is marked by ritual baths, gifts, fasts, etc. The main ceremony is known as chadak or gajan. This is an apparently Saivite ritual. Saivite ascetics live on alms throughout the month and on the last day, they perform several physical feats, such as piercing the body with shula (spikes), vana (arrows), or hooks, being whirled around on a wheel atop pole, walking on burning coals, etc. At present these feats are not as popular as they used to be.
On this occasion fairs are organised where toys, fruits, and sweets as well as goods made of bamboo, cane, plastic, clay, are sold. Bioscope shows, puppet shows, acrobatic feats, kite flying etc form part of the entertainment. Chaitra Sangkranti Mela has now been largely replaced by baishakhi mela. [Anjalika Mukhopadhyay]
See also gajan.