‘Aathon’ festival celebrated in eastern Kumoan region

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‘Aathon’ festival celebrated in eastern Kumoan region


Pithoragarh, Aug 24

Thousands of devotees thronged the venues of Aathon festival to pay obeisance to ‘Gaura – Maheswar’  (Lord Shiva and Parvati) in eastern parts of Kumaon region which is the main cultural festival of this region this week.

The festival begins with making of idols of Gaura and Maheswar of grass by village women, on 7th and 8th day of festival.

“The festival, that seems to have come from western part of Nepal, is especially celebrated in Pithoragarh and Champawat districts of eastern Kumaon and parts of western Nepal in the Hindu calendar month of ‘Bhadon’,” said Padma Dutt Pant, a cultural historian of Pithoragarh  district.

Te festival starts from ‘Panchami Tithi’ (fifth day)  of month of ‘Bhadrapada’, of Hindu calendar (5th day of Bhadrapad this year fell on August 21), when village women in every village of this region, soak  five main  local cereals in a brass pot smeared with cow dung and red Tilak after washing, at a  fresh water source. These wet cereals  are used in worshiping Goddess Gaura on seventh day and again Gaura and Maheswar, on eighth day of festival, as the Goddess is worshiped with wet cereals and pulses instead of flowers,” said pant.

Grass idols of Goddess Gaura and Maheswar being taken out during Aathon festival at Pithoragarh.

According to the legend, Goddess Gaura ,a lower valley girl, who is married to Maheswar or Lord Shiva of high Himalayan, wants to visit her parents in the month of ‘Bhadon’, when she reaches to her parents, she witnessed no cereals in home amid questioning from villagers that why she came to her parents in the time when there is no crop season.” As neither rabi cereals are left nor khariff crop harvested, she is offered whatever is available in her parents home.”As a repentance for Gaura, who is considered as a daughter of hills, the hill folks started celebrating festival of ‘Aathon’ with various dishes to offer it to their married daughters, who are specially involved in the celebrations ,” said Pant.

People at the Aathon festival which is the main cultural festival of eastern kumoan region of Uttarakhand at Pithoragarh.

“Gaura(Goddess Parwati) with Maheswar,(Lord Shiva) are Himalayan folk deities and the tradition of their worship is prevalent from pre-Vedic era. The village women venerate the duo as folk deities and seek blessings  for good  crop, health of their families and pet animals on eighth day of celebration by singing folk lores in their praise,” said Rekha Joshi, a local school principal and orgniser of ‘Aathon’ festival in Pithoragarh town

Besides at Sor valley region of Pithoragarh district and western part of Nepal, the festival is also celebrated in Gumdesh region of Lohaghat sub- division and  villages of Champawat valley of Champawat district.” The veneration of Goddess Gaura is performed only in local folk styles of song like Chanchari, Thulkhel, Dhumari,  Chali and Jhoora, instead of Bhajans or Vedic hymes as done  in Vedic culture to worship these goddesses,”said Madan Kaloni, a priest who performed Gaura Pujan at Zindi village of Gumdesh region of Champawat district.

In some villages of Sor valley, the festival of ‘Hilljatra’ is celebrated on the day when the grass idols of Gaura and Maheswar are immersed in some water body.


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