By Swami Harshananda
Śabarotsava literally means ‘festival of the śabaras aboriginals’.
Śabarotsava is a part of the Durgā-pūjā celebrations. On the Vijayadaśamī or the tenth day of Aśvayuja-śukla-pakṣa, bright half of Āśvayuja month, generally in October, the clay-image of Mother Durgā has to be ceremonially immersed in the waters of a river or a lake. After the immersion, when the crowd of devotees is returning, it is expected to behave like the śabaras or aboriginal tribes. Some of the items of such uncivilized behavior are:
- Making merry to one’s heart’s content by throwing mud and dust
- Abusing one another using offensive words
- Singing erotic songs
All, irrespective of their status in the society, were expected to join in this revelry, probably emphasizing the equality before the Mother of the universe.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore