Chau Mask Festival was held at Charida, Bagmundi, Purulia on Mar 9-11, 2023 from 11 am to 7 pm to celebrate the Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of Chau Mask. The festival was part of the collaborative initiative, Rural Craft and Cultural Hub (RCCH), undertaken by the Department of MSME&T, Govt. of West Bengal in association with UNESCO to strengthen ICH based practices of the state and promote the grass-root creative entrepreneurs.
The festival was inaugurated by ADM (LR) Mr. Rajesh Rathore, BDO -Bagmundi Development Block, GM -DIC-Mr. Jayanta Acharjee and Tapas Mondal – Land Acquisition Officer on 9th of March. The festival started with a village procession accompanied by the tribal dance of Nischintopur Adibasi Dance Group. Then the Natua Dance by Biren Kalindi and group, Jhumur Dance by Santha Mahato Jhumur Dal and Chau dance by Hem Singh Mahato and group took place and got immense public appreciation. On all the 3 days the visitors were invited to attend the workshops to witness the process of making Chau Mask.
On 10th March the festival started with workshops, taking place in every household, where the visitors interacted with the mask makers and learned about the history and process of making Chau mask. In the evening, Baul songs by Rabi Das Baul and group from Birbhum, Gambhira by Adwaita Biswas and group from Malda and two traditional Chau performances; one by Kartick Singh Mura and group and another by female Chau artists Nehari Sahis and group were presented.
On 11th March, the program concluded with a Chau dance performance by Bagambar Singh Mura and group. The three-day festival provided an opportunity for visitors to come and witness the living heritage of Purulia.