Pola: Worshiping the Hard Working Bull

There is a famous ‘running of the bulls’ festival in Spain where people get chased by an angry bull, here in Maharashtra there is a different kind of bull festival. It’s Pola today, this involves worshiping the hard working bulls; farmers give their bulls a bath, decorate them with flowers and jewellery and I’d like to think they treat them with extra kindness. This festival is mainly celebrated in villages, but the festivities have crept into Nagpur.

I have seen a couple of bulls around Nagpur but was unable to snap a photo, here is a beautiful example. Photo credit: http://blessingsonthenet.com
I have seen a couple of bulls around Nagpur but was unable to snap a photo, here is a beautiful example. Photo credit: http://blessingsonthenet.com

Small children are given wooden bulls with wheels to play with, friends gather together and race each other, pulling their bulls along behind them on a string. My husband proudly told me that as a child, he would usually win. I expect his extremely long legs gave him somewhat of an advantage. The little boys who live upstairs paid us a visit to show us their toy bulls, which they had lovingly decorated with ribbons, garlands and shells.

Some of Alfonso’s favourite friends own a shop near our house, whenever we walk past he has to go in for cuddles, the husband, wife and two very small boys are always all smiles. This lovely family have been sitting outside their shop building lots of wooden bulls for several days now, they are very sweet. I would have bought one for my little boy, Alfonso, but I think he would just chew it up. I guess I will have to wait to have human children.

pola festival bull toy playing hind uism India maharasthra
Who owns these feet?

small children pola festival bull toy playing hind uism India maharasthra

These majestic bulls have been pulling carts, ploughing fields and sowing crops for thousands of years, they are the life line of farmers and definitely deserve worshiping. The farmers of India haven’t had a good year so far due to the unusual weather, rains in summer and a dry monsoon, so I hope this festival lifts their spirits.

Happy Pola, everyone!


  1. Hi,
    I remember when I was kid, I use to play with clay bulls after pola is over.
    Thanks for taking me back to my childhood. BTW, this month is full of festivals and yet many more festivals to come. 🙂
    Happy pola…


  2. Hi,

    In Tamilnadu (Southern India) we will celebrate on the name of Maatu (cow) pongal which is 3rd day celebration out of four day festival. Also an important sport will be held which is known as Jallikattu or Manji Virattu (Bull taming sport) in specific area.




    • “In the past, it was the day when fierce bulls were chased by young youths of the village to retrieve the money that was tied to the horns of the bulls. In some villages it was held one day after the Mattu Pongal day, on the Kannum Pongal day. However, now it is held as a regular bull fight sports in demarcated rings in villages where the bull owners and the young men fighting the bulls vie for the prizes. This sport is much bloodier than the traditional Jallikattu observed 500 years ago.” (Wikipedia)

      Hmmmm…. sounds like a great way to ‘worship’ the bull.


  3. This festivals reminds us of our childhood and the treats that would come with that. Though in nagpur it is not much celebrated in recent days. But in small towns they are still celebrated with much enthusiasm.


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