Tuesday, May 30, 2023
Himachal Pradesh

Himachal People

Common Customs

Treating House Guests

As the guest arrives he is offered a bed, food, a hookah and a tea. He is looked upon as an incarnation of the gods. If he comes on the day of festival he must not leave without having a meal. Visiting relatives and married daughters must not be sent back without gifts of sweets and clothes. The guests also never arrive empty handed. I

f they can manage nothing else, they bring some fruits for the hosts. The women embrace each other when departing and touch the feet of the elders. Married daughters and children are also given gifts of money. The married daughters often weep at leaving their fathers house after a visit.

In some areas the customs for welcoming a guest are very strange. In Chachyot area when the guest reaches a house the family does not open the door to him. Neither they come out or offer him a seat. The guest lets himself in and finds a seat. In a little while the host family files in and welcomes him. His feet are bathed with warm water and he is given delicacies to eat. The guest as also the married daughter's husband are called Prahuna.

Before a wedding or a sacred thread ceremony for a boy, the boy and the bride-to-be are invited specially and presented with gifts. This custom is known as Lodhak. The relatives cook many delicacies at this time and send it for the bride and the groom. Special foods are offered to them and songs are sung. The gifts bestowed by the relatives on this occasion are to be remembered and returned when a similar occasion arises in the other houses. This custom promotes mutual good-will and co-operation.

Untouchability has fossilized in the area into a rigid and ugly custom. The untouchables may not talk direct to someone from a high caste, use their wells or enter their houses with shoes on. They must leave the road if a man from a high caste is passing by and in wedding feasts they cannot sit with every one else. They are served food on leaves which they must accept after repeated bowings and they must remove the carcasses of dead animals from the village for which they are paid in kind at the time of the harvesting season.