A Himalayan festival brings a rare chance for girls to be appreciated by their family in Uttarakhand
Local festival brings a rare chance for girls to be appreciated by their family in Uttarakhand
Luxmi Nautiyal lives in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand state. In Luxmi’s district, parents prefer to have a boy because they feel a girl is nothing but a liability. The state already has a sex ratio of children in the state is 906 girls per 1000 boys. However, once in a year, on the occasion of a local festival called Nandashtami, families shower their daughters with love and special gifts.
Nandashtami is a festival dedicated to Goddess Nanda or parvati. Hindus believe that the goddess Nanda is the daughter of Himalaya and therefore in Uttarakhand, which is a Hiamlayan state, locals see Nanda as a local girl. So, when they worship Nanda, they also show some special love and care to their own daughters.
Says Lauxmi, ‘In my community, a number of festivals are celebrated throughout the year. But of all, we girls find Nandashtami most exciting because on this day we are given gifts. Elders give us their blessings and say a lot of sweet words. For many girls here, that rarely happens.”
Luxmi, whose parents are associated with a local NGo called SBMA, is well aware of the problem of female foeticide and wants to raise awareness about the status of girl children in her community through her videos.