The Bhagoria Haat Festival is a colorful festival, usually considered as a marriage market held by the tribes of the Bhils and the Bhilalas in Khargone and Jhabua districts of Madhya Pradesh State. It is usually celebrated in February or March in the week before the Holi Festival..
There are different explanations about the origin of the festival, celebrated ahead of Holi in the tribal-dominated districts like Jhabua and Alirajpur, but the state tourism department describes it as an occasion when young boys and girls choose their partners and elope.
Bhangoria Haat Festival at Madhya Pradesh & adjacent regions of Maharshtra is celebrated in the month of March before the Holi festival. Bhangoria Haat is celebrated for seven days which covers all the market places in the region. People visit the nearby Bhangoria Haat with family traditionally on the decorated Bullock Cart. In Haat they purchase the things required to celebrate “Holi” festival , dance on the traditional musical instruments & songs called “Lokgeet” & enjoy whole day with meeting the people of the region. The day at which general market takes place at city, village or town on the same day bhangoria Haat is organised at that place & at the evening of last Bhangoria Haat “Holika Dahan” is celebrated by tribal of the region.
Bhagoria is celebrated by Bhils and Bhilalas tribes in the state of Madhya Pradesh. It derives its name from the word ”Bhag” which means to run. In this festival boys and girls are allowed to choose their partners and then get eloped. Eventually the couples are recognised as husband and wife. A haat is organised in the form of a marriage market where young boys and girls are allowed to choose their partners. According to the tradition, the boy is supposed to apply red powder (gulal) on the face of the girl whom he chooses as his wife. If the girl is willing, she also applies red powder on the boy’s face. The girl might not accept his offer immediately but in due course the boy can persuade her and succeed. This festival also has agriculture significance as it coincides with the end of harvesting season. Some people also celebrate it to mark the completion of harvesting.
Legend states that the first hero and heroine of this festival were Bhav and Gauri. That is another name for Shiva and Parvati, this is how the festival gets its name.
Another legend states that king of Bhagore conquered this area. He allowed men in his army to elope with the girls they fell in love at the Haat or market that takes place before the Holi festival. Since then over a period of time, it became a tradition that continues in some ways to date.
This is one of the oldest festivals greatly admired in the regions like Jhabua, Dhar, Alirajpur and Khargone.