Culture of Baltistan (Pololo state)

Jashn-e-Mayfang A Balti Festival, Centuries-Old Tibetan and Buddhist customs

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Jashn-e-Mayfang is a festival celebrated in Baltistan on the 21st of December each year. It’s a centuries-old festival that possibly came from Buddism or before that. It is meant to celebrate the start of the spring season. 20th Decembers night is supposed to be the longest and after that, the day time starts extending minute by minute. Mayfang amongs the number of Balti festivals celebrated each year.

Mayfang Balti festival has a centuries-old history and no one can trace its inception in the region. Balti peoples are still following a few of the 8 pillars of Buddhism in the region. At the same time, many customs and festivals of that era are still be followed.

Balti era of fire-worship and relation to Balti festivals

In the winter season, the majority of mosques in the Baltistan region having a small separate portion for prayers. After performing Wajib Namaz, all worshipers used to gather in a circle and campfire to keep them warm. This is followed around Baltistan. The history of campfire came from the era before Buddhism in the region. Balti peoples were Chebers or fire-worshippers. The locals gave up the religion but the practices added to their customs. Mayfang possibly belongs to that era too.

Symptoms of Buddhist Festivals in Baltistan

If we compare the living of Baltistan with the teachings of Buddha. Hospitality, simplicity, and sympathy are the pillars of Buddhism. These pillars are strongly followed in the mountainous region to date. Peoples are very hospitable, simplicity of Balti peoples are incomparable and all are very sympathetic.

Balti festivals are mostly dated back to 1000 years and still be followed with the same pattern. The current global shift on technology, social media, and global village concepts slightly diluted the zeal and zest of the locals to celebrate these events. At the same time, social activists emerged timely to promote cultural values and working to keep the old festivals and customs alive.

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