Festivals in Kinnaur

India is a land of festivals, inhabited by a society that believes in celebrating nature in all its glory. Similarly, the district of Kinnaur has its own set of festivals which they celebrate with complete gaiety and reverence. Maybe your next trip to Kinnaur coincides with one of these festivals. Know more about them here:


Sazo

Observed in the month of January, Sazo is a festival celebrated in worship of the family deity. On this day, people take bath in natural springs and rivers near their place of residence. Some specially travel till the river Satluj to bathe, to mark this festival. On this auspicious occasion, the family starts the day by worshipping the family god with particular dishes. Near noon time, they worship the hearth and bring out the deity after worshipping it with wine and halwa. A fold-dance is held in reverence of this event after which the deity is believed to leave for Kinner Kailash.

Phagul or Suskar

Celebrated in the month of February/March, this festival marks the worship of the spirit of Kanda (Peaks) called Kali. The festival lasts about a fortnight and is celebrated across Kinnaur. Each day of the festival is known by different names and several unique events are held each day to celebrate the occasion. A large feast is prepared on the last day of the festival. People worship Kali on the roof of their houses prior to partaking the feast. It is believed that celebration of the festival with full zeal makes the Spirit of Kali happy, who in turn blesses the villagers with prosperity in the coming years.

Baisakhi or Beesh

This festival is celebrated in the month of April and marks the end of winter season. New woollen clothes are worn from the wool spun during the winter. Villagers prepare dishes like Poltu, Halwa and Keyshid to mark the event. Image of the local goddess is brought out of the temple among fanfare and a fair is held to commemorate the occasion. This festival is used as an opportunity to get together and dance and make merry.

Dakhraini

This festival is celebrated in the month of July. On this day the local deity is brought out and the villagers dance before her to mark their obeisance. Zongor and loskar flowers are specially brought from the Kand peak and garlands made from them are offered to the goddess. These flowers are then distributed among the villagers as Prasad. Later a lavish feast is served to the gathering. Few members from the family, where death might have occurred before the festival, go to the peak of the hill and offer fruits to a shepherd in memory of the departed soul. A white flag bearing Buddhist mantras is fixed at the peak as a prayer for peace for the departed soul.

Flaich Ukhayang

This is a festival of flowers celebrated in the month of September. It is celebrated throughout Kinnaur on different dates. Commonly, people celebrate it on hill peaks near their village. The village deity, led by a band, is carried to the top in a procession. A goat is sacrificed as offering to appease the deity. Throughout the day, the village is turned into a fair. Flowers of Shuloo which have been brought from the peaks for this purpose are woven into garlands. At the close of the fair these garlands are offered to the deity. Immediately after which the people accompany the Goddess to the village adorned with flowers. The people celebrate their joy by singing and dancing on their journey back.

Losar

It is celebrated in the month of December to Welcome the New Year. On this day, in the morning, a special preparation of parched barley mixed with butter milk is partaken by all family members. People put on garlands of Chilgoza flowers and pay visits to their neighbours and friends. Greetings of ‘Losuma Tashi’ meaning Happy New Year are exchanged among everyone who meets whereas the elderly of the village bestow their ‘losuma Shalkid’ or blessings on everyone. Two to three days before the Losar festival, Khepa is observed. On this day, it is customary to fetch small branches of a thorny bush and place them on the door. It is done to ward off evil spirits. The next day, these thorny twigs are removed and thrown far away from the village. This ritual is then followed by a grand feast at night.

Tribal Festival

The Tribal Festival is being celebrated since 1994 from 30 October to 2nd November every year at District Headquarters, Reckong Peo. This festival has the distinction of being declared as a State Level festival. Even before 1994, it was celebrated under different names like Janjatiya Utsav, Phulaich Utsav in different areas since the year 1987. This festival not only depicts the panorama of rich culture heritage of the district but also provides an opportunity to the local people to exhibit their horticulture/agriculture produce, handicrafts and artefacts. Besides the Kinnauri culture groups, participants from other districts also present and perform culture programmes, symbolising national integration and brotherhood.