Gajan a Shaivite folk festival, held on chaitra sangkranti (the last day of Chaitra) and on full moon nights up to the full moon of Asadh. The festival is associated with various gods. There may thus be shiva's Gajan, the Gajan of dharma thakur, the Gajan of Nil etc. But the main object of this festival is to celebrate the marriage of the sun and the earth. The reason for this festival is perhaps to appease the sun and pray for rain during the hot, dry month of Chaitra.
The festival is arranged on the premises of Shiva temples. Those who take part in the festival after making vows are called sannyasi or bhaktya. They take sacrificial food and wear uturi (wrappers). Each one holds a staff. They try to satisfy the god through different acts of penance, such as piercing their tongues with nails, jumping upon thorns, walking on burning charcoal etc. chadak puja is performed on the occasion of the Gajan festival. During this festival, processions are brought out from the premises of the temple of Shiva and taken to other villages. A pair of processionists take the roles of Shiva and Gauri and render dances. Other bhaktyas take the roles of Nandi, Bhrngi, ghosts and spirits, monsters and demons and dance along with Shiva and Gauri. During this time different verses are recited narrating the story of how Shiva's sleep was disturbed and going on to his marriage, his agricultural activities etc. This festival usually lasts for three days. During the Gajan onChaitra samkranti, Kali dances are also performed in some places describing how the goddess slaughtered the monster Asura. [Dulal Bhowmik]