Madai Festival celebrated by the Gond tribe of Chhattisgarh is one of the most spectacular festivals of Chhattisgarh that reflects the fascinating tradition and culture of this tribal region. The people celebrate the festival with enormous excitement and passion. Madai is normally celebrated from December to March. The festival travels from one place to another in Chhattisgarh. The Madai festival starts in Bastar and then goes to the Kanker district. From there it moves to Narayanpur, Antagarh, and Bhanupratappur. Three regions of the state, namely, Keshkal, Bhopalpattnam, and Kondagaon welcome the Madai Festival in March when it comes to its end. Since the Madai Festival goes from one location to another, in other words, travels, all the tribe gets to enjoy the unique pleasures of this tremendous occasion.
The most important feature of the festival is that it is always celebrated on large ground so that a large number of people can gather. The festival starts with a procession ceremony of the local god/goddess in which a large number of people attend. During the festival, a lot of stalls and food stalls are set up. It is also a great time and place to see and buy the tribal craftsmanship as they display it at the stalls. The air reverberates with the sound of tribal music and rhythms. Even at night time, the ceremonies continue in full vigor.
After the end of the procession, the priest starts the worship and the people pray in silence while offering flowers at the feet of the god/goddess. There are several customs observed during the Madai festival. The people offer a goat to the deity. It is sacrificed in the honor of the tribal gods beneath a sacred tree. Then amidst the beating of drums and bells and tribal music, the goat is taken around the whole village. After the worshiping finishes, several cultural events like folk dance, drama, music, etc. starts. The merrymaking and enjoyment starts and continues till the night.
Madai festival is one of the most colorful and happy festivals in India, where people gather and spend time with each other. They get to spend time with their relatives and friends that stay far away. These festivals are the windows through which one can look inside the beautiful souls of the tribal people when they dance, sing and play their heart out and enjoys the festival of their ancestors.