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‘Johar’ greeting used by President Droupadi Murmu

  • Published
    27th Jul, 2022

The 15th President of India, Droupadi Murmu, assumed office with a ‘Johar’ greeting to the country.


About Johar:

  • ‘Johar’, which essentially means ‘salutation and welcome’.
  • It is used within the tribal communities of Jharkhand, and in parts of Chhattisgarh and Odisha.
  • According to several tribal leaders from Jharkhand, the word ‘Johar’ also means ‘paying respect’.
  • Tribal communities are nature worshippers and follow Sarna religion code, although it is not an official religion.
  • "Juhar" is also one of the rituals of Nuakhai, an agricultural festival celebrated to welcome the new crop.
  • It is a combination of two words - 'nua' means 'new' and 'khai' means 'to eat'.

The tribal communities that use the word ‘Johar’ for greeting:

  • There are 32 tribal communities in Jharkhand who speak different dialects. Almost all, including tribal Christians, use the word ‘Johar’ along with some other words for salutation.
  • Johar, is predominantly used by Santhali, Munda and Ho communities that share some similarities.
  • People belonging to the Oraon community use the word ‘Jai Dharam’, apart from Johar, as a salutation.

Form of ‘Johar’ salutation:

Doboh Johar:

  • One of it is ‘Doboh Johar’, which is used between people where one among them has a higher standing.
  • In ‘Doboh Johar’ there is a ritual where the person with a tumbler full of water bows in front of the person of higher standing.
  • The person who bows will touch the earth and in return the other person will wash his/her hand (using water in the tumbler) and let the water drop on the earth.
  • The entire exercise means that the hospitality being shown has been accepted.

Choh Johar 

  • Choh Johar is a kind of greeting shown by the elders towards younger ones. 
  • Choh Johar is different for men and women.
  • When a woman performs Choh Johar, she touches chin of the kid with both her hands and then pull it towards itself with the sound of kiss.
  • This gesture shows that she is taking away all the miseries of the kid.
  • When a men does Choh Johar he brings his right hand over his younger ones head and then take it back to its own head.
  • This is a way of taking away all his sorrows.

Bala Johar

  • Bala Johar is a special type of Johar (greeting) done by parents and relatives of bride and bridegroom.
  • Style of doing Bala Johar by men is different from that of women.
  • When it is done by men they stand facing each other holding each other’s hand.
  • Right hand is held by left and vice versa.
  • Then they gently collide their chests five times in different angles.
  • When it is done by women’s they bend a little and hold each other’s hand and gently collide their heads five times.
  • This Johar is done when the relatives of bride and bridegroom meets.
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