Bail Pola or the Bullock Pola is the festival of Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh. On this day, the farmers pay respect to cows and bullocks as the cattle is their main source of livelihood. Bail in Marathi means 'bull'. The farmers from the Vidarbha region of Maharashtra worship bulls and even decorate them.
The festival is called Pola because the demon Polasur was killed by Lord Krishna when he attacked Krishna as a child. This is also one of the reasons why children are given special treatment on this day. This auspicious festival also teaches every human to respect animals.
The day before the festival, the rope (vesan) tied on the animal is removed and turmeric paste and oil is applied on the body of cow, ox, and bullocks. They are then washed from horns to tails. After which they are brought back home.
At around 4 pm, a few villagers come out with their drums and start beating them. This gives a signal to everyone to bring their bulls and they are taken to the temple where they are decorated and adorned with ornaments.
Bulls are then made to stand on the sides of the road, facing each other and as the sound of the drum beating rises, women come out of their homes with lamps and vermilion to worship the bulls.
Amidst the celebration, one of the villagers brings Lejhim, a small instrument used by people in Maharashtra. They perform folk dances of Lejhim and Lavani.
The farmers end the celebration by trying to make the bull sit on the ground by their command. If a person is able to do it, he is declared the winner.
Women cook delectable Maharashtrian delicacies like puran poli, khichdi, karanji, and bhakari on this day. After the festival is over, activities like ploughing and sowing take place.