Udaipur/Keylong: Fagli festival of Lahaul Spiti begins today with fanfare. Fagli, locally known as Kuh, Kuyaa, Kus or Kuns is one of the important festival of the Pattan valley (Lahaul). It falls, after a fortnight of Khol or Khogla on Amawasya (Moonless Night) in the first/ second week of February. The houses are fully decorated and oil lamps are lit. A Baraza is set-up which consists of a bamboo stick, two to three feet tall, mounted on the floor. Around the stick a white chader is draped in such a maanner as to suggest an angel dressed in while, sitting in the corner, ornamented with jewellery and marigold flowers. Delicious dishes are placed before the Baraza along with burning incense. The Baraza represents the angel “SHIKHARA- APPA) grand mother of the peak and here visit is considered to bring prosperity to the house.

According to ritual demand the head of the family and his wife getup early in the morning to prepare (TOTU) dough of roasted barley flour and butter milk) and kwari. The Totu is taken upto the roof which is offered to the deities. Kwari is later thrown to the crows who await for it as if they have received the invitation. The totu is distributed among the family members as prasada. The couple goes to pay their annual respects to their cows and sheep to express their gratitude and acknowledge their dependence on these animals. Rest of the family members’ getup and pay their respects to their elders of the household by bowing to them and touching their feet. After breakfast they first visit their nearest and aged person within the village and then the entire village community congregates to pay their respects to each house with Marchu (Local puri).

Each day of the festival has a special name to show its own significance. One day is called punha, a symbolic representation of ploughing the fields. Since the fields are covered under snow during the period, so symbolic ploughing is done. Two green willow sticks representing the bullocks and two more representing yoke and plough are moved forward in the room in the front of the Baraza. In the following weeks feasts and festivities continue among relatives and friends, along with the exchange of marigold flowers and other gifts.