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Koshur Music

An Introduction to Spoken Kashmiri

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List of Festivals

1. Shiva Ratri or Herat

13th day of dark fortnight of Phagan
This festival commences from the 1st day of dark fortnight of Phagan. From the 5th to 9th day house cleaning is done by leeping and washing. On the 10th day money according to tet scale is sent to the daughters in their husband's houses. On the 11th fried fish and bread are sent to the daughters. On the 13th day the head of the family keeps fast and performs the puja of Shiva at night. The 14th day is the feast day. The elders are given small presents of sugar or fruits by the younger and cooked rice and meat are sent to the daughters. On the 15th day or the 1st day of the succeeding fortnight walnuts consecrated at the puja are distributed among relatives and friends.

2. Tila Ashtami

8th day of bright fortnight of Phagan

3. Chetar Choudas

14th day of dark fortnight of Chet

4. Sont

1st Chet (Sankrat)
A basket of unhusked rice, with a bread, a rupee, a pen-case, a cup of curds, a few walnuts, a crumb of cooked rice and some flowers, are kept overnight and seen the first thing in the morning by the inmates of the house just on opening their eyes from sleep. Each picks up one or two walnuts which are dropped in the river after bathing.

5. Naureh Mavas

15th day of dark fortnight of Chet
A fair is held at Vichar Nag, a northern suburb of Srinagar.

6. Naw Warih

1st day of bright fortnight of Chet
The custom of unhusked rice, etc. being seen in the morning as on the sont is observed. The sons-in-law are invited and given a feast. On their return to their houses they are given money presents.

7. Baisakhi

1st Baisakhi (Sankrat)
A fair is held at Gupta Ganga near the Nishat Bagh.

8. Durga Ashtami

8th day of bright fortnight of Chet
A fair is held at Khir Bhawani (Tula Mulah)

9. Ram Nawmi

9th day of bright fortnight of Chet
A fair is held at Hari Parbat and at Raghu Nath Temple.

10. Yag Ram Nawmi

10th day of bright fortnight of Chet

11. Shri Panchami

5th day of dark fortnight of Baisakh
This day is sacred to the goddess Saraswati (Minerva).

12. Shriddha of Rishi Pir

6th day of dark fortnight of Baisakh
A fair is held at the shrine of Rishi Pir at Batayar.

13. Vetal Shashti

6th day of dark fortnight of Baisakh
A fair is held at the different shrines of Vetals in Srinagar.

14. Munda Dashmir

10th day of dark fortnight of Baisakh
A fair is held at the mound near the Dal Darwaza.

15. Achhen Trai

3rd day of bright fortnight of Baisakh
A fair is held at Kothar, a village in Tehsil Anantnag.

16. Ganesh Choudas

14th day of bright fortnight of Baisakh
A fair is held at the Ganesh Ghat in Srinagar.

17. Jeth Ashtami

8th day of bright fortnight of Jeth
A fair is held at Khir Bhawani.

18. Nirjala Ikadashi

11th day of bright fortnight of Jeth
A fair is held at Dud Ganga.

19. Hara Saptami

7th day of bright fortnight of Har
Circles with lime and colours are made on the floor in the house in resemblance of the sun.

20. Hara Ashtami

8th day of bright fortnight of Har
A fair is held at Khir Bhawani.

21. Hara Nawami

9th day of bright fortnight of Har
A fair is held at Hari Parbat.

22. Mela Jvala Bhagwati

14th day of bright fortnight of Har
A fair is held at Khrew.

23. Biyas Puja

15th day of bright fortnight of Har

24. Rakhri

Full moon day of Sawan
Shiva puja is done in every house by thehead of the family and a fair is held at Amar Nath, Mahadeva, Harsheshwara and Shankracharya.

25. Chandan Shashti

6th day of dark fortnight of Bhadun
A fast is kept by women which is broken at the time the moon rises.

26. Janam Ashtami (birthday of Sri Krishna)

8th day of dark fortnight of Bhadun
A fast is kept which is broken at the time the moon rises by taking only fruits.

27. Vinayaka Chaturthi

4th day of bright fortnight of Bhadun
A fair is held at all the shrines of Ganesh.

28. Ganga Ashtami or Radha Ashtami

8th day of bright fortnight of Bhadun
A fair is held ar Harmukata Ganga where ashes of those who have died during the past twelve months are carried and thrown into the lake there after performing the Shraddha. Another fair is held at Ganga Jatan (Pratapsinghpora) where a bath is taken by the pilgrims in the water oozing out from a precipice there. In leap years the fairs are not held at Harmukata Ganga and Ganga Jatan, but at Sharda and then it is called Sharada Ashtami.

29. Pan

Any auspicious day during the bright fortnight of Bhadun
Bread are prepared and distributed among the relatives and friends.

30. Indar Bah

12th day of bright fortnight of Bhadun
A fair is held at Kani-maji near Baramulla.

31. Vitha Truvah

13th day of bright fortnight of Bhadun
Birthday of river Jhelum.

32. Anant Choudas

14th day of bright fortnight of Bhadun
A new armlet of gold or thread is worn - by a male on his right arm and by a female in her left ear.

33. Kanyagat or Kambari Pachh

Dark fortnight of Assuj
This fortnight is entirely devoted to the Shraddha or offerings to the names of the pitris. It is a series of offerings and feasts in honour of the dead. The day (Tithi) on which one dies is represented in this fortnight by one corresponding to it for the performance of his or her Shraddha.

34. Nava-Ratra

1st day of bright fortnight of Assuj

35. Durga Ashtami

8th day of bright fortnight of Assuj and of Chet
A fair is held at Khir Bhawani.

36. Maha Nawami

9th day of bright fortnight of Assuj and of Chet
A fair is held at Hari Parbat.

37. Dasehra or Vizai Dashmi

10th day of bright fortnight of Assuj
This day is celebrated with great pomp. The weapons and instruments of war are hallowed and then a campaign is opened. Three immense figures, stuffed with gun-powder, are made to represent Ravana, Kumbakarna and Meghanada and these are placed at the proper time in the centre of a large open space without the city. To represent Rama, Sita and lakhshman, three little boys are splendidly dressed and carried in a palanquin to the same place. Crowds of people gather there and the Maharaja sends all the troops with the guns, etc. At a given signal one of the little boys, who is supposed to be Rama, steps forth from the palanquin attended by the two other little boys and fires a small arrow at the big figure representing Ravana, while the other boys discharge their arrows against the other two figures. Of course at this moment the three monsters, ravana, Kumbakarna and Meghanada explode with a tremendous noise and then the guns rattle and the cannon roar and the people shout and eventually retire.

38. Devali

15th day of dark fortnight of Katak
Oil lamps are lighted in the evening in honour of goddess Lakhshmi.

39. Annakuta

1st day of bright fortnight of Katak
Rice is distributed among the poor and the officials are given sweetmeats by the State after puja is performed at the Basant Bagh.

40. Gopal Ashtami

8th day of bright fortnight of Katak

41. Birthday of Kali

8th day of dark fortnight of Poh
A fair is held at Kali's shrine above Zaina Kadal.

42. Khetsri Mavas

15th day of dark fortnight of Poh
In the evening Khichri is cooked and a plateful is kept outside the house in the compound for the god Kuvera.

43. Shishira Sankranti

1st of Magh (Sankrat)
Kangris with live charcoals and also rice, ghee and salt and cash are given to the priests in the name of the dead.

44. Gauri Tritiya

3rd day of bright fortnight of Magh
This day is celebrated in honour of the goddess Saraswati. The priest writes hymns of the goddess on elaborately illumined paper which he gives to youngsters. He is given presents of money in return.

45. Shruka Tsoram

4th day of bright fortnight of Magh
On this day the priest writes down a shloka in Sanskrit which he gives to the young boys with his benedictions.

46. Bhishma Ashtami

8th day of bright fortnight of Magh
A fast is kept in honour of Bhishma Pitamaha, this day being the anniversary of his death.

47. Bhimsen Ekadashi

11th day of bright fortnight of Magh
A fast is kept this day.

48. Shiva Chaturdashi

14th day of bright fortnight of Magh
A fast is kept this day and Shiva's puja is performed.

49. Somavati

Monday on which Amavasya falls
It is observed as a fast. People bathe this day in the river at the Somyar Ghat on the right bank of the river, this spot in the Jhelum being sacred to the moon.

50. Zara-Kasai

This is the hair-cutting ceremony performed when the boy is about 4 or 5 years old. A havan is performed and the boy's head is shaved, leaving the choti at the highest point of the skull. After the havan the relatives and friends are treated to a feast.

51. Zuji

This is the ceremony of conjugal union. In the case of grown up couple it is performed on the occasion of the wedding, but in that of the couple being young it is deferred till they attain the age of puberty. On this occasion the head-dress of the girl is changed, thenceforth the cap being replaced by kalposh, zuji, taranga and putsi and she binds a girdle round her waist. Also her hair, instead of being braided elaborately in a web, is thenceforth plaited in tress tied with a tassel hanging down the back.

Excerpts from:
The Kashmiri Pandit
by Pandit Anand Koul
Thacker, Spink & Co.
Calcutta

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