GINANI MUBARAK TO All HUNKUKUTZ
June 21, 2011 5 Comments
By: Abbas Ali
Ginani is a centuries old historical festival celebrated in Hunza with tremendous zeal and happiness. The festival of Ginani is the harbinger of the first harvest. During the period when Hunza was an independent state, Ginani was celebrated at state level. At Altit, Hunza the Tham ‘Mir’ (king) was officially inaugurate the festival by visiting the fields with music and dance.
Head of the family in each household was visiting the field and brings with him the plants of wheat symbolizing begging of the harvest season, where special prayers were offered for a better yield. Sacrifices were offered on the name of the ‘lord of the land’ (Zamin-e-pir), in shape of milk, butter and wheat bread (Burum Hanik). This festival was of great importance for the people of Hunza some four to five decades back, while Hunza was confined within the boundaries of gigantic mountains, supply of staples and food items was not possible from outside world. People were relying only what they had produced in the fields locally and in a very limited number with poor yield compare to the yield today. The poor yield was due the absence of fertilizers, seeds of improved production and pesticides. The major produce was wheat, buck wheat and barley. Often at the end of the agricultural year (Datoo) in the majority of the common families food items stored were approaching to the end and it was becoming difficult to have meals for three times a day.
In the modern Hunza, much has changed many will say the change is at an angle of 180 degree. Hunza is no more an independent state; there is no Tham (King). Therefore the Ginani is not celebrated at official level but it has been replaced by the Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) who have taken charge of celebrating the event with much zeal and appropriateness. Supply of food items is no more an issue with the opening of Karakorum Highway. Interestingly the people of Hunza are now exporting food items mainly potatoes and fruits which was unthinkable four decades back. At the same time the yield of crops has increased many folds because of the adoption of modern agricultural techniques, better seeds, use of fertilizer and pesticides where Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN) has played a great role in it.
Ginani is no more important as the harbinger of the first harvest; rather it is now an event to celebrate as thanks for the previous year’s joy of abundance of food and wishing good luck for the coming year. Importantly, it is an event to be connected with the past, appreciating the hard work and wisdom of the forefathers who’s struggle and wise decision have enabled todays modern generation of Hunza to live comfortable lives with happiness and pleasure. At the same time it is a commitment to follow the footprints of the great ancestors and leaving a much better Hunza-Gilgit-Baltistan for the generations to come.
Music and dance have played a very important role in elevating the spirits of Hunzukutz high, they used music to call on fairies and divine guidance beside as an expression of happiness and pleasure. The melodious music of Hunza is a source of inspiration for soul and mind which is an important part of the celebrations of Ginani festivals. GINANI Mubarak to All HUNKUKUTZ.
Thanks for anonymous photographers