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Bahula Chauth is a festival celebrated to highlight the significance of cattle in the lives of Indian farmers. The day is dedicated to the cattle and is celebrated on the fourth day of the dark fortnight of Shravan month. Bahula Chauth is a regional festival celebrated mostly in Gujarat and some parts of western and northern India. The festival is predominantly celebrated by the farmers and their entire families and represents the love and respect that Indians have for animals especially cows.
In 2013, Bahula Chauth will be celebrated on 24th August.
The Legend of Bahula Chauth
There is a famous legend associated with the festival of Bahula Chauth. It is said that once a cow named Bahula was on her way to feed her young calf. She was interrupted by a lion standing in her way, which was extremely hungry and wanted to eat her. However, Bahula pleaded with the lion to let her go to feed her child one last time, after which she promised that she would return to satiate his hunger. At first the lion did not listen to her and said that once she went away she would never come back to keep her promise. However, the persistent pleas of Bahula melted his heart and he allowed her to go with the warning that if she failed to return, he would surely find her and eat her along with her calf.
A sad Bahula came home and after feeding her calf, explained the whole situation to her. The calf on learning the truth said that it and not her mother would go back to the lion. But Bahula did not listen to her and left to meet the lion. The calf followed her mother and when the due met the lion each of them offered herself as his food. The lion on witnessing this unselfish love and commitment of the cows let them both go free forever.
Celebrating Bahula Chauth
On the day of Bahula Chauth, the farmers and their families get up early in the morning and scrub and clean their cattle as well as their sheds. Later they offer various delicacies to the animals and even pray for their good health and well being. Some women also observe a fast on this day to seek blessings for a healthy and prosperous life for their families. One of the most important customs of Bahula Chauth is that consumption of milk and milk products are completely prohibited on this day.
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