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Known locally by the name of Ukyam's Ookayand, the Phulaich Fair is a regional festival celebrated mainly in the Kinnaur region of the state of Himachal Pradesh. The festival, which is associated with flowers is celebrated annually in the Hindu month of Bhadrapada, is one of the best festivals of its kind celebrated in this northern hill state. Celebrated in the month of Bhadrapada, the fair is held after the monsoon season, during the time of vegetation growth in the Kinnaur region.
Rituals of Phulaich Fair
The Fair is spread across three days staring from the 16th day and ending on the 18th day of the Bhadrapada month. On the first day of the fair, a group of villagers climbs the high hills to collect the special Ladra flowers, for worshipping the gods. These people stay on the top of the mountains until the next day which is the 17th day of the Bhadrapada month. On the 18th and the third day of the festival the group of villagers return downhill and people celebrate their homecoming as well as success in acquiring the flowers. Then on the 20th day of the Bhadrapada month, the people decorate the village God and dressed in their finest attire, celebrate by dancing in the open under the shades of the trees.
The festival also holds great significance in terms of remembering loved ones, who are no longer alive. People sacrifice animals in their memory and also offer food, wine and even clothes to the dead relatives, which are then distributed amongst the poor. After this ritual, the villagers assemble together to visit the house of the Dhangaspa family and honor the family members by putting garlands around their necks.
Celebrations in Phulaich Fair
The Phulaich Fair is one of the most fun filled and colorful festivals of Himachal Pradesh. During the celebration of this festival, the entire region of Kinnaur comes alive with people rejoicing in the fun and frolic of the festivities. Colorful stalls are installed everywhere and people from the neighboring regions throng the villages to take part in the celebrations.
Performance of folk songs and dances form an integral part of the celebrations. In addition, can be seen supporting completely traditional attire and carrying weapons to depict the scenes from the ancient wars. On the third day of the festival, people play drums and blow bugles to show respect to and welcome back the villages bringing back the Ladra flowers, for their heroic deeds.
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