Festivals and fairs are a rich part of our cultural heritage. They are a big part of our social upbringing and times of joy and happiness. These are celebrated with enthusiasm and fervor worldwide.
Just like most parts of India, Kinnaur has its own set of traditional customs and beliefs. It is a land of rich culture and customs. The festivals celebrated here to provide a glimpse into the Kinnauri life and their traditions.
Bonang is one of the lesser-known but very beautiful festivals in India. It is celebrated with a lot of pomp and splendor in Kinnaur by the local population.
It is a very huge and unique event and is celebrated once in 12 long years! Fascinating, isn’t it? This is one of the biggest specialty of the festival and marks its huge importance. It is mainly celebrated in the villages of Nesang and Moorang.
2. Ukhying or Fulaich
Ukhying or Fulaich is the festival of ‘fuls’ or flowers. It is a tribute to mother nature and flowers form an integral part of the worship for this festival.
It is usually celebrated on the 16th of September and is celebrated over a period of 5 days. In the case of a leap year, it usually begins on the 17th of September.
3. Pangi Dakraine
Pangi Dakraine is one of the most traditional and loved festivals of Kinnaur. It is associated with remembrance and celebrated with great enthusiasm. As the name suggests, it is celebrated all over Kinnaur but especially renowned in Pangi.
It is celebrated according to the Hindu month of Magh in Kinnaur. This is celebrated all over the region and by all the people. The start is with a ceremony of having a sacred and soul purifying bath in the lakes or even rivers if possible.
A traditional vegetarian prasad is prepared and offered to the deity. This is offered to the great lord by the community as a mark of reverence and respect.
Shivratri is celebrated with great religious fervor by Hindus all over India. It is one of the most important festivals for Hindus especially the Shaivite sector.
The same is with the people of Kinnaur, the Hindus here celebrate Shivratri with a lot of joy and vigor. A sacred bath is taken in the Sutlej river in order to purify and cleanse the soul.
Deewal is celebrated in the month of November. It is celebrated around the same time as Diwali but has very little in common. The houses are cleaned by each household.
They are then adorned beautifully with a special mixture made of Chilgoza, wheat, and roasted barley. village fairs are also held where everyone gathers to fun and frolic.
This is also called as Suskar and is marked to honor the reverend Goddess kali. It is celebrated in the Hindu month of Phalgun as a mark of respect for the Goddess who is said to reside among the mighty Himalayas.
The Deity is worshipped on the last day of the festival in a very special manner. The goddess is worshipped from the roof of the house. A community feast ensues later where everyone eats together and bonds.
Beesh is also called Baisakhi since it is celebrated in the month of Baisakh. It is usually associated with the start of the year. It is very important as it symbolically marks the end of the Winter season and the start of Spring.
The temple deities are worshipped and prayers and hymns are sung. The Kinnauris dress up in their traditional colorful attire and sing songs in the praise of God. Fairs are also conducted during this time.
It is also called as Dholru or Chaitrali and celebrated in many interior regions of Himachal including Kinnaur. This festival marks the start of the year and hence considered very important.
It is called as the gateway of Happiness and hence very sacred symbolically. The locals celebrate it with a lot of joy and fervor and you can see them shine with happiness.
Shirkin or Sherkant festival is celebrated during the months of October – November. This is usually the time when the Sheep and the flocks are moved to the sub-mountain plateaus by the nomads and herders.