Festivals all around the world are looked at as a celebration of delightful legacies, cultures, and traditions. People in occasions of religious and cultural festivals seek to rejoice the special moments with their loved ones while taking a break from their day to day monotonous lives. Religions and cultures all over have their distinct way of celebrating and passing on the traditions. Hinduism, one of these world’s widely followed religions has its own sets of festivals. Hindus today despite being dispersed in different parts of the world stay true to their traditions and celebrate their festivals. Likewise, the Hindu community in Balochistan celebrates the yearly festivals with joy and happiness.
People of Hindu faith are dispersed in all different parts of Balochistan including Sui, Harnai, Dera Murad Jamali, and Dera Allah Yar. The rich history of Hindu community’s presence in Balochistan is evident from the name of the town Chaman, which connects Pakistan with neighboring Spin Boldak of Kandahar province of Afghanistan. The name Chaman is derived from Chaman Das, a prominent Hindu fruit trader in the area before partition. The Hindu community with a population of 3500-4000 people has been living in the town since before the partition. Not only the region is home to people of Hindu faith, but also ancient Hindu temples such as the Hinglaj Shrine in Lasbela and the Kali Devi temple in Kalat. Hindu trading communities are seen as part of the local social fabric across Balochistan. Despite the religion based violence that engulfed the country in the past, Chaman has been unaffected by faith-based conflict. The Hindu community in Chaman celebrate their religious ceremonies in the open; they conduct fireworks outside temples and in the streets. Prayers are also held for peace, prosperity, and development of the country, and the community itself.
There are three main religious festivals celebrated yearly in the Hindu faith. All major festival celebrations include visiting a temple. Diwali, celebrated in late October or early November, is the Hindu New Year. Holi is celebrated in the spring by lighting up bonfires and cover each other with colored water and powders. Dussehra, which marks Rama’s triumph over the evil Ravana, is celebrated in September. In every twelve years in January or February comes Kumbha Mela; it is a huge bathing affair where millions of Hindu pilgrims from Balochistan travel to the River Ganges at Allahabad, India to wash their sins off.
Diwali is an important religious festival in the Hindu calendar and most celebrated in Balochistan as it marks the day of Lord Rama’s return home after an exile of 14-years. The celebrations are marked with fireworks, festive meals and exchange of sweets and gifts. During the celebrations of Diwali, temples, homes, shops and office buildings are brightly decorated with lights. It is believed that Diwali is the spiritual victory of light over darkness. Its rituals basically last for five days, full of enjoyment and happiness.
Holi falls in the lunar month of Phalguna of the Hindu calendar. The Hindu community in Balochistan celebrates Holi in a traditional manner. It is celebrated with the onset of spring and is widely recognized for the throwing and applying of colored powders on friends, relatives and family members. Holi is the remembrance of the victory of good over evil. This year, it will be celebrated on March 20. This colorful event is held up in different localities of Balochistan with peace and in a safe manner.
The needless debate on the fringe and pitfalls of polytheism sinks aside when the festivals come. The outcome is nectarous meals, flamboyant rituals, and harmony. All festivals in the Hindu faith are remarkable and contain uniqueness by their own virtues and Balochistan provides complete freedom for this community to celebrate them to the fullest.