Cuisine :The Santhals are as reverential towards food, as their ancestors. Peeled and cut in the shade of the trees, the fresh produce from the farms is seasoned by nature herself, rendering a rustic taste. Their way of living revolves around the cultivation of rice. The Bengali thali (trademark format of serving food in the rural precincts) is the regular fare. Rice, pulses, vegetable and sweet are integral to the thali, which are further teamed up with some vegetarian and non-vegetarian specialty.
Fish or sea food is a part of almost every meal; the highlight being the Prawn Malai Curry. Sarshe Illish (Hilsa fish) is the regional delicacy. The popular drink of the Santhal tribe is called Hariya, made from rice grain and a fruit seed called bakul.
Festivals: The tribal community of Santhals has a natural affinity towards song and dance. Since religion is a part of their daily life and all their festivals are rooted in it, there is never a dull month in the year.
The local fair is 'Pous Mela'. The other major fairs held annually are Jaydev Kenduli Mela, Sriniketan Krishi Mela and Chandi Das Mela. An important festival is Chabbish Prahar, which is celebrated for 3 days and abounds with tribal rituals. Karam is an important festival falling in the month of September or October, which is like a thanks giving day to the Gods. Most of the inhabitants are worshippers of the deity Maranburu. Jahera is another tribal deity, worshipped before all festivals and celebrations.
Tribal folk play music using traditional instruments, some of which are the Tirio (bamboo flute with the seven holes), Dhodro banam (lac covered with an animal skin on which rests the bridge), Phet banam (a fretless stringed instrument with three or four strings), Tumdak, Tamak, Junko, etc.
Oral tradition is an integral part of the tribal repertoire and is of key historical value. This comprises the unseen history and heritage of the Santhal tribe as preserved in their songs and sayings. The vibrant Santhal dance is performed by the Santhali women dressed up in the red bordered white saris. The artists paint themselves with different colors in order to distinguish the different mythological characters, and dance gracefully using sticks, on the beats of the traditional music.