Chenab region celebrates age-old Kanchouth festival

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STATE TIMES NEWS

Bhadarwah: Celebrated to commemorate the marriage of Lord Shiva with goddess Parvati, ancient Kanchouth festival was observed across the hills and valleys of Chenab region on Sunday. The festival is revered as one of the most religious and colorful events for the followers of Nag Culture.
The age-old festival is celebrated across the hilly Chenab valley as locals, mainly Nag followers believe that on this day of Gouri tritiya, Lord Shiva and goddess Parvati got married and the latter insisted on a throne made of snow as her wedding gift.
Thus, snow during the festival is considered a good omen.
Like Karva chouth in other parts of the country, Kanchouth or Gauri-Tritya a local festival of Women is celebrated with enthusiasm and religious fervour in erstwhile hilly Chinab Valley every year during the Shukla Paksha of Magh month in January and Febuary .
Karwa Chouth is celebrated mostly in wider geographical area in plains, Kanchouth and Gauri -Tritya is celebrated in hilly districts of Bhadarwah, Kishtwar, Ramban and Doda of Jammu Province.
Both the festival are celebrated by women to pray for long life of their husbands. Style is almost same. The only difference is the timing.
Where as Kanchouth falls in winters while Karwa Chouth is celebrated during summer season. On Karwa Chouth women break their fast when the moon appears in the night strictly with vegetarian food while as in case of Kanchouth the fast is broken after Gouri Pooja during the day with non vegetarian dishes made of mutton and chicken meat.
On the festival day women clad in crisp new elegant bridal suit, donning matching jewellery, with henna painted hands pray for the long lives of their spouses. The occasion has great significance in the life of every married woman. The day is considered pious for women when they can pray to Goddess Gauri for the long and healthy lives of their husbands.
Anita Charak, a newly wed from Village Hanga village of Bhadarwah said that I’m super excited as for me this is my first ‘Kanchouth’ as I got married a few months back and my mother-in-law and other elderly ladies of the village are teaching me the traditions which, “I’m really loving to perform.”
The Kanchouth festival though is of one day yet the festivity remains for three days. During these three days, ladies go in the neighborhood to offer ‘Thel'(respect) to one and all irrespective of religion, creed and caste; age and sex and get in return their blessing ‘Suhagan Bho'(Live long your husband).
“Kanchouth gives us a different kind of high as on this day, our mother-in-law seeks blessings from us by touching our feet and we get the liberty to enjoy as following the tradition husbands manage the kitchen for three days. Another beauty of this festival is that we touch everyone’s feet to seek blessing irrespective of their religion, caste or creed,” said Durga Devi (33) of Hanga village.
“This is my 47th ‘Kanchouth’ and I still feel excited and have goosebumps waiting for this beautiful festival. I hope coming generations will not forget their rich tradition and preserve the beauty of this ancient Nag festival,” said Bala Devi (72) of Bhadarwah.

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