Thagam festival concluded in lower parts of Gojal Valley

Parents holding their sons in Hussaini village of Gojal Valley. The children are wearing specially decorated hats. During this festival young children are “initiated” symbolically as farmers

Gojal, March 9: The traditional Thagam festival was celebrated today in lower parts of the Gojal Valley, Upper Hunza. This two-day festival formally opens the farming season.

The festival depends on the extremes of weather to different places. In lower Gojal from Shishkat to Passu it is usually celebrated during first week of March. In upper Gojal, Shimshal and Chipurson valleys it is celebrated when the weather condition becomes normal and suitable for cultivation.

The celebration continues for two days. For this ceremony people prepare a special dish called Samn by processing wheat grains for about one months before this day. The Semn is cooked like pudding or halva as well as Semn breads are prepared.


Semn is a traditional sweet cuisine prepared for the Thagam festival
Semn is a traditional sweet cuisine prepared for the Thagam festival

During the first day people gather at common places in the village while carrying with Khamali, Samn and some other traditional dishes. Here the villagers together eat these dishes and offer common pray for the betterment of community and good production of crops. During evening time the villagers take a piece of a plant Pishpishunuk locally called Suthors from a representative of Shoghunputhuks. From here he takes it to the roof of the traditional house and a traditional dish is prepared called Mul (from wheat flour latter eat with butter). The Suthors is then entered to the house from a opening in the centre of the traditional houses called Risin. From here that is lifted to the field with the damp of livestock manure.


A volunteer is specially made up for the occasion. He plays a central in the festivities

This day the people belongs to a particular family locally called Shaghun Puthuk came in procession with a particular protocol holding sticks in hand. First of all they perform the Tumung in a old house. During the Tumung they burn fire inside the house and check that where the smoke goes. This is a old time believe that in which direction the smoke spreads at that side of the village the production of wheat will be more. In this house a person from that family is dressed special called Dhrukhs (Ox).

A male child is symbolically being "initiated" as a farmer
A male child is symbolically being “initiated” as a farmer

From here the Shoghunputhuks with the symbolic Dhirokhs proceed to a field where people from the whole village gather and give great protocol to Shoghunputhuks. In the field the symbolic Dhruksh make some actions and perform like a typical oxen style. The Khalifa (peson that performs religious rituals) prays for better crops, unity, and success.

After prayer, an elder from Shoghunputhuk sprinkle seed to a small area of the field and cultivate the portion of field through traditional old time ploughing method (traditional ploughing equipments pulled by 2 oxen). This is the formal opening of cultivation in the village.

Parents bring their children of 1-3 years (who not before performed this) at the field and touches their hands to the ploughing tools in order to become a good farmer in future.

During old time polo was also played in this day but with the modernization this is not practices now.


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