G-B govt officially celebrates centuries-old Nasalo festival

nasalo festival

GILGIT: In the heart of the picturesque Bagrote Valley in Gilgit, a centuries-old festival known as “Nasalo” continues to flourish, defying the tide of modern culture, traditions and inflation that have swept across the region.

For the first time, the festival was officially recognized and celebrated by the district authorities on Tuesday. The day of Nasalo commenced with a traditional gathering, where the community assembled early in the morning. Each household contributed a special dish to the collective feast, symbolizing unity and togetherness. The event featured a variety of activities, including performances of the Shaman dance, a traditional ritual dance of the region, and traditional dances.

Gilgit Deputy Commissioner Amir Azam and the assistant commissioner of Danyor, along with members from various departments, participated in the festivities. DC Amir Azam emphasized the importance of cultural identity, stating, “Our culture is our identity, and we will continue to officially celebrate the Nasalo ritual in the future.”

Nasalo, a cherished cultural festival, has become a rare spectacle in today’s world, with only a few areas in Gilgit-Baltistan still keeping its flame alive. Fortunately, Bagrote Valley is one such place where this ancient tradition thrives, preserving its rich heritage with unwavering dedication.

Nasalo is celebrated during the second half of December when the valley is blanketed in a serene winter embrace. As part of this tradition, every household embarks on a unique ritual – the slaughter of animals such as yaks, cows, goats, sheep, or oxen, depending on their availability and financial means. The meat obtained from these sacrificial animals is then carefully hung in airy and frigid locations, allowing it to freeze and preserve throughout the harsh winter months of January, February, and March.

To the people of Bagrote Valley, Nasalo is more than just a festival; it’s a way of life. The dried meat, prepared with utmost care and patience, becomes a vital source of nutrition during the coldest months of the year.

In preparation for the winter, the people of Bagrote Valley also collect apricots, nuts, almonds, walnuts, and other storable fruits in large quantities during the summer. These provisions serve as a balanced diet for the families and are used to honor guests during the Nasalo festival.

The day’s festivities culminated in heartfelt prayers for the prosperity and peace of the region and its people, underscoring the deep-rooted bonds that tie the Bagrote Valley community together.

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