Tuesday, March 22, 2011


(Only Kashmir Staff Reporter)
There had been tradition of house cleaning ahead of Nauroz as this also brings to an end the long and harsh Kashmir winter. On this day people don new clothes, visit relatives and friends present each other with gifts and compete in hospitality and the art of cooking.
The main dish of the day, which women cook a night before Nauroz, is duck with turnip besides fish with lotus roots. On Nauroz eve, pious families would lay a table-spread for Ali (sufra-e-shah) in the belief that the holy Imam visits the household at an appointed hour (tehvil), and leaves his blessings and marks of his visit on the objects laid out for him.
People with bone and joint diseases and also skin diseases would make their body bleed with a sharp edged knife to let the impure blood peep out of the veins for blood purification. This was in typical Kashmiri known as ‘tombi’.
Special interest would be paid to observing the tehvil, or the exact moment the sun enters the new constellation, by setting up a gravitational experiment. Some would determine the time by noting the collision between two round objects, like walnuts, floating in a basin full of water.
In earlier times Kashmiri women would gather in the evenings preceding Nauroz to sing Roff (folk songs in chorus) signalling the arrival of spring. The practice has largely been now restricted to rural Kashmir. Here, the mood is more festive as Nauroz, heralded by the first rays of the morning sun of spring, is the making of the first furrow.


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