Pola, also known as Bail (bullock) Pola, is a festival for Marathi community celebrated on the new moon day in the month of Bhadrapada (August-September), according to the Hindu calendar. It is an agricultural festival as bulls, who work very hard in the fields and help the farmers to earn their living are worshipped. It is the day to show gratitude towards the animals who selflessly provide service to mankind.
A huge processions is carried around with decorated animals and people playing drums. The first one to walk into the parade is the oldest bullock of all and as a sign of the superiority, a wooden frame is tied on its horn. Two posts are placed at a distance and a rope decorated with mango leaves are tied between the two. The oldest bullock is made to break the rope to start the procession and other cattle follow him.
In some places the festival is celebrated for two days as Bada (bigger) Pola and as the Chota (smaller) Pola. All the above mentioned activities are done on the Bada Pola. On the Chota Pola (the day before), children carry toy bullocks in their hand and visit as many houses as they can to collect gifts or money.
According to Hindu culture, every living being should be respected and as animals help us in our day to day routine, Pola should be celebrated to mark respect of cattle. Though bulls carry burden but should be treated with utmost dignity. The festival also marks the social status of various farmers. He who has maximum number of bulls is considered the richest in the community.