“Themshaling” One Day Local Level Festival
Village Hundur, Yasin Valley, District Ghizer, GB
October 13, 2015, Hashoo Foundation, in partnership with the Centre for Culture and Development (CKU), organized a one day local level festival ” Themshaling. The objective of this event was the revival of traditional festivals which are on the verge of extinction.
The festival was jointly inaugurated by Jafar Ullah Khan, Deputy Speaker-Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly, Mir Waqar, Deputy Commissioner Ghizer and Naveed Ahmad, Assistant Commissioner Gupis-Yasin.
Being a traditional festival of autumn season after hard summer farming, Themshaling attracted an overwhelming crowd from entire Yasin valley, where the total estimated number was 4,000.
Main traditional activities conducted during this day-long festival were:
Traditional Event “Bigal”
Traditional song sung by shepherds in the springs to let the people know that they are taking cattle to pastures. This event is also used to announce the approaching danger, i.e. in high mountain pastures, there are lots of tigers and other carnivores which can prove fatal for the herds, so whenever such carnivores entered into a pasture, “Bigal” was performed to alarm the shepherds.
Traditional Event “Hashki”
During mid-summers, group of shepherds come back to the village to collect items such as sugar, tea, salt, fruits etc. which they use in pastures for themselves. However, the shepherds do not knock at the doors: the whole group stands on the roof of traditional home which has one central ventilator called, “Somo” and sing songs praising the cattle of that home. In response, the owner of the home gives them the things they ask for.
Traditional Event “Lobal”
Lobal means narrow strip in the mountains which are used by goats and sheep for walking. Traditional song is sung by shepherds which is basically a prayer to God to protect their sheep and goats because these narrow paths are very dangerous and their cattle could fall down the mountains.
Traditional Event “Makuti”
Makuti is basically a traditional cake made by the female head of the family with maize flour. It is then baked on fire and considered as the first item to be cooked from flour that is gathered in summers after the harvesting of grains. Neighbors are invited to share the Makuti and brothers take it to their sisters who are married and away from home.
Traditional Event “Gulmandi”
Gulmandi is traditional cheese bread made from the cheese collected and made by female shepherds in the pastures.
Traditional Event “Tug of War”
Traditional tug of war is being played between shepherds and farmers where the basic theme of this traditional activity is to see who is left with more power after such handwork in summers.
Traditional Event “Sumla”
Sumla means wrestling which is played between two shepherds. The winner of the game is selected as the head of shepherds for the next season.
Traditional Event “Duff Tamasha”
Duff tamasha means singing competition among different village groups and only “Duf” musical instrument is allowed to play.
Besides traditional ritual performances, some of the main items of the festival were:
1- Traditional Cultural Dance by Senior Citizens;
2- Traditional Cultural Dance by children;
3- Burashki Folk Songs;
4- Khowar (Chitrali) folk songs;
5- Sitar performance;
6- Awards distribution;
7- Chief Guest Speech.
The efforts of CKU to promote and revive indigenous cultures of GB and Chitral, in partnership with Hashoo Foundation were widely appreciated by the Chief Guests, artists and artisans.
Commenting on the occasion the Chief Guest, Jafar Ullah Khan- Deputy Speaker-Gilgit Baltistan Legislative Assembly, appreciated the contribution of CKU and HF for working on the much needed revival of indigenous cultures of mountain communities.