The local tribals of Bastar, which is in the Chhota Nagpur region of Chhattisgarh, celebrate the Sankranti Festival as Cher Chera festival. It is a harvest festival, a thanks giving to the sun, the field and the cattle that helped in bringing forth the harvest. In some parts, it is also called the Cherta festival, Cherta meaning “to give, to part with.”
This region of Bastar is watered by the Mahanadi the great river and is hailed as the rice bowl of Central India. The harvest of the land, and the cows and the oxen that help in the harvest are the key components of the lives of the tribals. As a part of the festival the oxen are washed, decorated and paraded with tilak on their forehead. The oxen are also offered the fresh food in appreciation of their contribution to the harvest.