Fairs of Himachal Pradesh
Fairs in Himachal Pradesh have a very positive role to play in social life. It is fact with a different outlook that people here celebrate and participate in the fairs. Himachal is a land of ‘Devi’ and ‘Devtas’ and most of the fairs are of mythological nature. But to keep on rhythm in various walks of life, fairs have occupied predominant role and acquired varied walks of life, fairs have occupied predominant role and acquired varied dimensions, such as; trade, agricultural, seasonal and fairs connected with festivals etc. so intensive the fairs have become, that people of all shades and interests participate in large numbers. There is hardly any village where no fair is held. There is an almost continuous succession of fairs.
Generally, the fairs are held at such a time when the people are free from their household engagements. Fairs give them an opportunity to purchase and sell needed articles. Traders from far and near join these festivals to display articles like clothes, wool, pashmina, furs, leather, hides and skins, pottery, metalware, jewelry, ornaments, fruits, vegetables, and many other local products coming from homes and fields of the ruralites. Shops of hosiery and cosmetics, tobacco, cigarettes, and toys are also displayed. Following are the important fairs.
BAISHAKHI (Bishu, Bisoa)
This fair is held at various places in the state. People carry village deity with music procession from one place to another. In the upper hills, people perform ‘Mala dance’ by joining hands to form a large circle. During daytime, some games like archery and wrestling are also played. This festival is more popular in the lower hills.
Minjar (Maize flowers) is the fair celebrated in district Chamba at a place ‘chaugan’ in Chamba town. This festival is held in the month of August (on second Sunday). It continues for a week. Maize flowers, a coconut, a rupee or a smaller coin, a fruit and a few paddy tentacles are offered to ‘Varuna’ the God of rains, in the river Ravi. During the celebrations, feasts and musical concerts are organized at various places in the town.
NAINA DEVI FAIR
This fair is held in the month of August, at Naina Devi temple, in district Bilaspur, which is 8 KM from the Gangual power House. This is the most delightful fair in district Bilaspur.
Kullu Dushehra mirrors Himachal culture in its entirety. It throws light on the life, love of dance and music of the people in this region. To see the colorful Himachal at one place, Kullu Dushehra is the right place. Dushehra in Kullu starts on the ‘Vijay Dasmi’ day and continues for seven days. Although Dushehra is celebrated all over the country, in Kullu, starts it has its own distinctive glamour. The famous idol of ‘Raghunathji’ which is carried from its fixed place in ‘Dhaulpur Maidan’ to another spot across the ‘maidan’ was brought from Ayodhya in July 1651A.D. by one Damodar dass and installed in Kullu by Raja Jagat Singh.
This festival can’t start unless powerful goddess Hidimba, known as the patron deity of Kullu Raja, arrives from Manali. The festival concludes with the burning of ‘Lanka’.
This fair is held in the month of October-November every year at RAMPUR-BUSHAHR. The word ‘Lavi’, is derived from the word ‘Loe’ which in local parlance means a sheet of woolen cloth. Another meaning of Lavi is Shearing of the sheep. Lavi Fair, as the past accounts run, took place twice in the months of June and November, which are suited to shearing of sheep, thus making available the wool in abundance. But now it is held only once a year. In ancient times, Tibet and Kinnaur had good trade relations and Lavi fair is the outcome of the business interest of both sides. Lavi fair is almost three hundred years old and now provided with the status of the international fair. In the upper hills, this is the last fair before the on the setting of winter.
This fair is celebrated in the month of November for six days. Renuka fair starts ten days after the Diwali festival. The legend goes that Parshuram, the youngest son of mother Renuka, used to visit his mother every year. The fair commemorates the annual meeting of Parshuram and Renuka. The place where the fair is held, mother Renuka and her husband Rishi Jamdagani used to live. This festival is one of the most important cultural events for people of Pachhad. It provides business exposure to local people.
THE SHIVRATRI FAIR
This fair is held in the month of February on Shivratri day in MANDI. Shiva is the chief deity of Himachal People. This fair continues for a week, with great fun and frolic. On this occasion, people bring hundreds of gods and goddesses in their ‘Raths’. Devotees carry them on shoulders amidst melodious religious songs. People pay their homage to Lord Shiva at famous temple of ‘Bhut Nath’ in Mandi town.
It is held in the month of March every year in district Hamirpur at SUJANPUR. This fair has also been accorded the status of a state fair. It exhibits traditional limelight of Holi, the festival of colors. People from all over Himachal come to participate in it. A week-long fair provides wholesome entertainment through various games, songs, dances, folk dramas and skits performed by local artists. Business activities are also in full swing throughout the week.
Sissu is a common fair celebrated all over the Buddhist Himalayas. Its main attraction is always a masked dance but because of a part of monastic rituals, it is always staged inside the monastery on the attached courtyard. The fair is celebrated on different dates at different places. At Sissur Gompa it is held in June, at Gemur Gompa in July and at Mani Gompa of Gondhla in August.
This is very strange to all for you. This fair is celebrated in Distt Shimla at village Halog, in the month of October and November. In this fair, people divide themselves into two parties and each throws stones on one another.
This is a list of some fair celebrated in the gods land Himachal Pradesh. These fairs have an educational, social as well as religious character. These serve the needs of social integration not only for economic sustenance but also for cultural survival.