Revelling in the colours and flavours of the north

ISLAMABAD, Jan 26: Hundreds of people from Hunza residing in the twin cities came together for an evening of traditional tunes and merriment to celebrate their culture. The day-long “Hunza Cultural Festival” was organised by the Hunza Cultural Forum here on Sunday. hunzaA large canopy hosted approximately 1,500 people from up north. The stage was lit up for an enthralling show by 31 artists who had specially come in from Hunza. The crowd also enjoyed performances such as sword dances, instrumental music, songs, and various other acts. Dressed in shiny golden robes and maintaining upright postures to balance their traditional hats, the dancers were in sync with the music and did not miss a single beat. It was awe-inspiring and heart-warming to see younger performers learning about the culture of their ancestral homes and working to carry on centuries-old art forms. “Suppression, aggression and then celebration are the lessons taught through the ethics of traditional music originating from Hunza Valley,” said Rehmat Karim, one of the event organisers. He said that the number of urban settlers from the northern areas was growing with each passing year. Karim is among the hundreds of settlers who feel the need to remain connected to their roots, no matter how far they may have come. However, he feels that their younger generations suffer from an identity crisis. “I moved here 20 years ago. My children are growing up here, and they are very disconnected from their roots,” lamented Karim. Soheena Ghazi, a BSc student, concurs with Karim’s statement. She said that the younger generations raised in urban cities rarely visit their villages, and have little knowledge of their roots, thus, “Such events are educational and entertaining at the same time,” she said. Traditional food items were also on offer. A number of barbeque, rice and other delicacies from the north made by the locals were on sale. Safeeda Bibi, 77, who hails from Hunza, was making special ‘giyal’ and ‘bursshapil’ bread with yogurt and onion filling and special oils. Other specialties such as mantus seemed to have run out of stock due to high demand. Taqdees Iqbal, 9, had come to the event with her family. She said that the annual event was always fun. “I always get to reconnect with my friends and enjoy good food and music,” she said. “Although we move away from our cities, our culture moves with us,” said another volunteer, Ashdar Ayub.–Published in The Express Tribunehunza2]]>

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