Fairs / Festivals
Previously, this fair used to be celebrated in Kibbar maidan in Spit in the month of July where traders from Ladakh, Rampur Busher and Spiti meet in this fair to barter their produce. Due to closure of Tibetan traders, this fair is now being celebrated at Kaza, the headquarters of Spiti Sub Division in the 3rd week of August. A large number of visitors and traders from Kullu/ Lahaul/ Kinnaur meet there. It has now become a conference of cultures of Spiti, Ladakh & Kinnaur as also of the Indian plains.
This fair is celebrated during summer in the 3rd week of August every year. In earlier times this was the most prominent fair of Lahaul. People of all casts and creed gather there, not only from Lahaul but from Chamba and Kullu too. The fair is combination of pilgrimage and festive activities. Preparations are made at least a week in advance and most of the people leave their homes a day before the celebrations, where they have faced darshan of the statue of Triloknath (Shiva Lord of Three Worlds) or Avolokiteshvara as it is regarded by Buddhist. After paying their obeisance, people go to the parikrama gallery between the inner and outside walls of temple. Pilgrims/ devotees usually complete three or seven clockwise circumambulations of the gallery/ rotating the prayer wheels and murmuring Mantras ( OM MANI PADME HUM) every morning and evening till they stay there. Ghee and Mustard oil lamps are lighted continuously inside. People donate money and Ghee/ Oil to maintain the lamps, one of which is so big as to accommodate 16 Kgs. of Ghee/ oil. After the prayer and rituals, the fair begins. Temporary shops, tea stalls and hotels are established at the fair ground. As soon as darkness overtakes, the pilgrims dance in a huge circle to the melody of folk songs devotional or otherwise. On the second morning, a traditional procession is taken out, which is headed by the Thakur of Triloknath riding on a decorated horse. Their destination is the place where as per traditional lores, seven gods, the youngest of whom was Trilokinath had appeared from seven springs in the past. This is the most important ritual of the fair. The precession then returns to the fair ground for more festivities. Some people for their native places leave as soon as the procession disperses, while others stay until the third day when the fair is over.
TRIBAL FAIR KEYLONG
Tribal fair coinciding with Independence day is celebrated with great pomp and show from 14th to 16th August, at Keylong the headquarters of the district. People from all parts of the valley congregate in their queer disposition and a large number of Indian and foreign tourists gather here to witness the fair. It is being celebrated as at State level fair. In order to make the fair colourful , artists and cultural troupes are invited from Chandigarh, Dharamshala, Leh , Chamba, Kullu, Spiti in addition to local artistes.
Tsheshu fair is celebrated in Shashur, Gemur, Kyi, Kardang Tabo and Mane Monasteries in the months of June. A large number of devotees/ people gather on these occasions.Devil dance is performed by the Lamas bedecked in colourful dresses and wearing masks of different birds and animals.
FESTIVAL OF LIGHT
A festival of lights known as Diwali is celebrated all over India in October every year. A similar type of festival is celebrated as Khogla in Pattan valley and Halda in other valleys of Lahaul at the second and third week of January. The date is fixed by a Lama while in Pattan valley it is celebrated to Magh Poornima coincide with (full moon). Pencil cedar branches are cut into strips and are tied together into bundles to make a torch called Halda quite similar to Hola in upper regions of Shimla district. In the evening halda at each house are lit and brought together at one centre place. This is repeated four to five times, each time in honour of different deities. When the ceremony is over, the villagers return to their houses. The haldas are prepared and lit in the same manner and collected at one place where they burn to lashes. But there is slight difference. Along with honouring the deities, the people of Gahar valley curse the Ranas of clans hostile to their own. The people of Keylong curse the Ranas of Goushal and Kardang threatening to bite their hearts.
Fagli, locally known as Kus or Kuns is one of the most important festial of the Pattan valley. It falls, after a fortnight of Khogla on Amawasya (Moonless Night) in the first/ second week of February. The houses are fully decorated and oil lamps are lit. A Baraza is set-up which consist of a bamboo stick, two to three feet tall, mounted on the floor. Around the stick a white chader is draped in such a maanner as to suggest an angel dressed in while, sitting in the corner, ornamented with jewellery and marigold flowers. Delicious dishes are placed before the Baraza along with burning incense. The Baraza represents the angel SHIKHARA- APPA) grand mother of the peak and here visit is considered to bring prosperity to the house. According to ritual demand the head of the family and his wife getup early in the morning to prepare (TOTU) (A dough of roasted barley flour and butter milk) and kwari. The Totu is taken upto the roof which is offered to the deities. Kwari is later thrown to the crows who await for it as if they have received the invitation. The totu is distributed among the family members as prasada. The couple go to pay their annual respects to their cows and sheep to express their gratitude and acknowledge their dependence on these animals. Rest of the family members getup and pay their respects to their elders of the household by bowing to them and touching their feet. After breakfast they first visit their nearest and aged person within the village and then the entire village community congregate to pay their respects to each house with Marchu (Local puri). Each day of the festival has a special name to show its own significance. One day is called punha, a symbolic representation of ploughing the fields. Since the fields are covered under snow during the period, so symbolic ploughing is done. Two green willow sticks representing the bullocks and two more representing yoke and plough are moved forward in the room in the front of the Baraza. In the following weeks feasts and festivities continue among relatives and friends, along with the exchange of marigold flowers and other gifts.
GOTHSI ( GOCHI)
There is a festival of the Bhaga valley which is celebrated in February in the houses where a son was born during the preceding year. The villagers gather in the morning. A dough is made of Sattu ( roasted barley ) and is placed in a big plate. It is lifted by four men to the place of the village deity which is generally an idol of stone, a tree or a bush. A young girl dressed in her best clothes and decked with ornaments accompanies them. The girl carries a pot of chhang ( Local drink). She is followed by two men, one carrying a burning stick of pencil cedar and the other pencil their cedar leaves tied together in a lamb skin. The woman giving birth to the first son in the year, dressed in her best clothes accompanies them to pay homage to the village god. Labdagpa the village priest worships the God with a bow and an arrow. The dough is then broken and thrown away to appease the gods. The lamb skin is placed on a tree or a bush near the idol of the village deity and is shot at by arrows. Lohars beat drums during the ceremony. After the worship of the village deity is over, the people disperse but the relatives and friends move in to group and visit all their houses where male children are born. Drinking and dancing go together, sometimes all through the nights