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  Events and Festivals
Festivals of Himachal Pradesh
Pori Festival
It is celebrated in the traditional way at the temple of Trilokinath. On this day the statue of the lord is bathed with milk and yogurt and then at about ten o' clock in the morning a crowd of people goes around the temple beating drums and blowing conchshells and bugles. A horse is also taken round the temple. It is believed that the god sits on its back and this is why the horse is drenched in sweet after the ritual. After the procession, the crowd along with the horse goes to the palace of the local ruler where the horse is given a grand welcome.
Lohri (January)
Lohri, is celebrated every year on 13th of January. It is a festival to worship fire. Lohri Festival is celebrated with great pomp in North India. At this time Earth starts moving towards the sun marking the auspicious period of Uttarayan. First Lohri is very important for the newly wed and the new born babies as it marks fertility. At night, people gather around the bonfire and throw til, puffed rice & popcorns into the flames of the bonfire. Prayers are offered to the bonfire seeking abundance & prosperity. People make merry by dancing & singing traditional folk songs.
Holi (March)
The colourful festival of Holi is celebrated on Phalgun Purnima which comes in February end or early March. Holi festival has an ancient origin and celebrates the triumph of 'good' over 'bad'. The colorful festival bridges the social gap and renew sweet relationships. On this day, people hug and wish each other 'Happy Holi'.
Kullu Dusserhra (October)
One of the most important and colorful festivals celebrated at the 'Valley of Living Gods' - Kullu is its Dussehra. When the Ram Lilas come to an end with the burning of effigies of Ravana, Meghantha and Kumbhkarna; in all the other parts of the country, the joyous celebrations at Kullu get kicked off devoid of this burning ritual.
Fulaich (August/September)
In the monsoon month of Bhadrapada comes the festival of flower-watching (Ukhyang) in the Kinnaur valley. This festival is also known as Fulaich and it commemorates the dead. But it is not an occasion to weep and wail. The fair opens with animal sacrifices and soon the entire village collects on a hill top and looks for the 'Ladra' flower. People serve rice wine and food to the dear departed ones on a mound of bricks. These are later distributed to the poor and the Harijans in the village. Afterwards the people of the village reassemble at the house of the 'Dhangaspa' family and garland all the family members of the clan.
Chaitti (April)
According to the vikrami calendar the new year begins in the month of Chaitra. The first day of this month (Chaitra Sankranti) is considered very important and is celebrated all over the state. Two colourful festivals are celebrated during this month. One is Navratri and the other is Ralli Puja. In some corner of the house which faces east a plant is covered with soil and sown with barley seeds, coconut, symbolising the goddess Bhagwati is also placed near it. For nine days the ritual 'puja' is performed there and on the tenth day (Dashami) the barley shoots are distributed all over the village. These shoots are known as Riholi and they are said to symbolise the goddess Durga Bhagwati.
Chaitraul (March/April)
Chaitrual is a popular festival of the Sirmaur area. It is celebrated in the month of Chaitra on a certain day in the bright fortnight of the moon. On this day the walls in the house are cleared, painted and decorated with figures of male animals and crops symbolising plenty. It is also known as festival of pictures. The Harijans are fed and the family deities are taken out into the fields where the people cook a special delicacy known as Poltu. Sometime people place the deity in the middle of the fields and cook a special savoury gruel as offering. As they are driven back, the wheels of the chariots of the gods are brushed with thorny twigs. At some places clay pots are broken to chase away evil spirits.
Basoa or Bishu (April)
On the first day of the month of Baisakh the aboriginals and the farming folk celebrate the Basoa festival. Three days before the festival, people make little cakes with Kodra (a coarse grain) flour and wrap them up in leaves. After three days the cakes ferment, then on the morning of the festival day people invite the married daughters and other relatives and break and eat these cakes with honey and sweet water flavoured with jaggery. A ritual song is sung on this occasion.
It is a festival in honour of Googa, the lord of snakes. On this day large feasts (Bhandara) are organized at all the temples of Googa (Googmadhi) in which the food grains collected by the Guru (head priest) are used. The farmers also come with offerings of food and pray for their well being. Pictures of snakes are drawn on the walls with turmeric and people feed snakes with milk and butter. Mentally sick women dance at the temples on this day, in order to get rid of their sickness.
Losar (February)
This festival marks the beginning of the new year in the areas bordering Tibet. On this day people light lamps in front of the family deity Kimshu and meet all their friends. No one may come out before midday. Early in the morning people sing Darshid songs. A square lump known as Brang-Gyas is made out of mixed flour and placed in a platter. The statues of deities and sweets are grouped around this, along with figures of domestic animals. These must be in odd numbers. It is considered auspicious to see this platter full of statues and figures early in the morning.
Rakhi (August)
Rakshabandhan or Rakhi which is celebrated on a full moon day in the month of Sravan (August) is a day when brothers and sisters reaffirm their bonds of affection. It is usually a festival of the Hindus though today people from different religions participate as well.
Diwali (November)
Deepavali or Diwali is the major Indian occasion which is celebrated whole heartedly in Hinduism, Sikhism and Jainism. It is also called 'Festival of Lights' as people illuminate candles, diyas on this day and celebrate the victory of good over wicked powers. The day is celebrated in throughout the world, where in nepal it is called Tihar and Swanti. It falls in the months of October or November. In North India, the day marks the home coming of Lord Ram to his kingdom Ayodhya after the 14 years of exile. People of his kingdom celebrated his home return by lightning thousands of diyas, therefore the day has been named as 'Deepavali', which is again shortened as 'Diwali'.
Khogal (January)
Khogal festival is celebrated in Lahaul in the month of January. The Khogal night is lit up with clay lamps. Normally this festival falls on a full moon day. All the male members of the village collect at someone's house and get drunk on a local brew known as 'Chakti'. Then they visit house after house, drinking all the while. This goes on till midnight. At midnight the 'Chan' (the drummers) sit on someone's rooftop and begin to play their drums and flutes. This is a signal to begin the Khogal celebrations. As soon as the sound comes, people run with lighted torches towards their houses with screams. It is believed that the noise chases the evil spirit away
Sajo (March)
This is a festival in which the people bid farewell to the village deities. In the villages the palanquins of the gods are laid open and the doors of temples are closed. It is believed that this is the period when the gods depart for the heavens for a short spell of rest. Floors of the temples are cleaned and polished in the hope that the gods will throw good things from the heaven upon them. This festival comes in the spring month of Magh or Falgun. On this day the many delicacies are cooked and eaten. This day the spirit of the god may descend on his devotees.
Gotsi or Gochi (February)
This is the most popular festival in the valley which is celebrated in the month of February in the houses of those who have been blessed with a son in the past year. People gather in those houses and drink 'chhang' wine. On a large platter, some cakes made of mixed flour are placed and carried to the deity by four men. This place is marked by a tree or a shrub or a little mound.
Karva Chauth (October)
Karwa Chauth is a festival that provides an opportunity for all married women to get close to their in-laws. All married women observes fast that ensures the well-being, prosperity and longevity of their husbands. This Hindu festival has a cultural and social significance and all Indians celebrate this festival with great enthusiasm.
Faguli (March)
This is the spring time (Falgun) festival of the tribals. In Kinnaur this is connected with Basant Panchami. On this day people shoot arrows at a portrait of Ravana drawn on a paper. The houses are cleaned and the monsoon gods are welcomed by name. There are many local stories about these ritual shooting of arrows at Ravana's portrait. If an arrow hits home it is taken to be a sign of the victory of gods over demons in the heaven. The blowing of conchshells is forbidden because it might divert the attention of the gods engaged in a brave battle against the demons up in the heavens.
Phulaich Fair (September)
The Phulaich Fair is held every year in the state of Himachal Pradesh. It is held in the month of September in the Kinnaur district. Although the state of Himachal Pradesh is extremely famous for its fairs and festivals, especially for the spirit of its locals. Phulaich Fair is the best of its kind in Himachal Pradesh.
Sairi (October)
The first day of the month of Ashwin is celebrated as the festival of Sairi. This is a winter festival which comes when the maize crop is ready for harvesting. The nomadic Goddess of Bharmor (Gadderan) celebrate this prior to migrating downwards into the valleys of Chamba, Bhatiyat, Kangra and Mandi for the winters. They treat it as a festival of farewells. At night they get drunk and dance and sing.
Hamir Utsav (November)
Himachal Pradesh is a northern state of India with Shimla, the beautiful hill station as the capital city. There are a number of Fairs and Festivals celebrated in Himachal Pradesh. Hamir Utsav is a popular festival among the local people of the state. The people of the district of Hamirpur celebrate Hamir Utsav to commemorate its existence as a state of Himachal Pradesh.
Lavi Fair (November)
A trade festival, cultural programmes organized during evenings. Every year the Lavi fair is organised between 11th to 14th November. This is an International festival of trade of dry Fruits, Handicrafts and Handlooms etc.
Renuka Fair (February)
On the eve of Devprabodini Akadshi the Five day long state level Shri Renuka Ji fair as begin with the arrival of son Lord Parshuram at Shri Renuka Ji Lake in Himachal, the home of his divine mother Shri Renuka Ji. During five day fair several lakhs of devotees from all over the country arrives here to witness the holy occasion of divine meeting of Lord Parshum & his mother Renuka Ji.
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