A bitan (shaman) went into trance at a Ginani Festival in Karimabad to communicate with the fairies (Lorimer collection 1923)
by: Zulfiqar Ali Khan
Hunza, June 23: The traditional “Ginani’’ festival has been celebrated in Central and Lower parts of Hunza valley, with traditional zeal and fervour. Main gatherings were organised in Altit and Aliabad villages. The local community has performed rituals at central places and also performed traditional dances on local tunes. Special traditional dish locally known as Dirum Pitti has been prepared to mark the festival.
Before the construction of KKH, the local community was totally dependant on subsistence farming and during the winter seasons most of the families were also facing shortages of foods. This festival was thus celebrated to mark the beginning of new harvesting season. During the time, when Hunza was an independent principality, these rituals were performed at royal courtyard. This event is called Ginani and Chineer in Hunza, Strublah in Baltistan and Ganoni in Gilgit.