Zuv' chumm' bramhaan'
Ghar' gachaa

Feb 16, 2007

Herath Mubarakh!!!

Wishing all "Herath Mubarakh"....a very very Happy Shivratri.

Our 17th Herath(Shivratri) in exile...

Shivratri known as Herath is the most important festival in the Kashmiri Pandit calendar. The festivities begin well at start of Phalgun krishnapakh - and go on through the fortnight, each day having a significance and events related to it. Gor'e trey, Hur-ashtami, doonye daham, etc being prominent one's other than the Herath day itself.

Herath is celebrated by Kashmiri Pandits on the night of thirteenth day of Phalgun krishnapaksh - a day ahead of when Shivratri is normally celebrated by other sections of Hindus. Herath is a day when fasting, prayers to the Vatuk-raaz'e are offered and the next day (fourteenth day of Krishnapakh Phalgun) is observed as a day of celebration and feasting. Kashmiri's celebrate Shivratri differently from the other sections of Hindus - and not as the day Lord Shiv and Parvati married. Instead, the focus is on pooja of "Vatuk Bairav" and involves elaborate pooja done after sunset and goes well into the night. The picture on the left side shows the decorative layout of the pooja place - Vatuk being the prime deity.

There are lots of customs and traditions related to Herath which may vary from family to family on this day.

It was mandatory for a snowfall to happen on Herath day - Pandits regarded snowfall on the day as a divine sign that their prayers were accepted. Legend has it that an Afghan ruler in Kashmir - Jabbar Khan however decreed that Kashmiri Pandits must celebrate Herath in month of Haar (i.e. around July) since it was no big deal for snowfall to happen in Kashmir in Phalgun (i.e. around Feb or March). Forced by the decree Pandits celebrated Herath once more at peak of summer that year - and it actually snowed that day in summer. The incident is still recalled by Kashmiri's in a folk rhyme
Vuchton' ye Jabbar jandhe'
Haar-as te' korun wande'
(Look at this junk headed Jabbar
He converted summers into winter)
Of course, it doesn't snow anymore in the refugee camps in Jammu and Delhi - when Kashmiri Pandits celebrate Herath today, while in exile. No wonder none of our prayers are getting accepted either.

(Picture courtesy: www.satisar.org)


pi said...

Hope you had a good shivratri!

kashur said...

Wishing all my community Herath Mubarak!
May all our wishes be fulfilled.
May we emerge gracious out of all ordeals and stay as a kosher community together.