Chillai Kalaan and our tradition

By Ishfaq Shafi
Assuming that you mean Chillai Kalaan. I would like to tell you that it is the harshest period of cold season in kashmir . It is a forty day period starting from the sunset of 20th December and continue upto the midnight of 31st January. The night temperature may fall  up to minus degree Celsius , if snow fall down this period it might stay till March.
 Like the weather throughout the year it also originates from western disturbance coming from the Mediterranean sea,  but the cold intensity of them is frustrating everyone,  whether he is young or old or a child , but there is a lot of fun in it .Many of our traditions are connected with this ‘ Chillai Kalaan ‘ , this play a key role in keeping our tradition alive . In this we use things that have made unique difference in the world , and he influenced each person living on this planet. When Chillai Kalaan comes this tradition seem to grow in their colour,  For centuries locals in the landllandlocked Kashmir valley have relished dried vegetables, brinjal ,tomatoes,  pumpkins,  Turnips,  smoked fish and wild herbs to survive the extreme winter .As connectivity with the outside world would often get snapped because of heavy snowfall,  locals would painstaking store washed and dried vegetables to hold them in good stead during winter which lasts for almost for five months. Fresh vegetables are now available round the year in the local markets due to better road connectivity and superior vegetable growing techniques,  but for nostalgia the locals still throng markets to buy dried delicacies. Special to winter cuisine in the valley is smoked fish known locally as ‘Farrigad’ and dried fish called ‘hokhegad’
          Now here is talk about ‘Pheran’ and ‘ Kangir’ . A kanger also known as kangir or kangid is an earthen pot woven around with wicker filled with hot embers used by Kashmiris beneath their traditional clothing to keep the chill at bay , which also regarded as a work of art. It is normally kept inside a blanket . If a person is wearing a jacket , it may be used as a hand warmer . The ‘Pheran’ traditional outfit for both male and females in kashmir is the phiran (or pheran) and poots . The pheran and poots consists of two gown , one over the other , the traditional phiran and poots extends to feet , it is optional to wear the suthan with a long phiran as traditionally lower garments are not warm with phiran. These dresses are used by the residents of the Kashmir valley and Kashmiris residing in Chenab valley . This Chillai Kalaan alive these traditions for centuries,  and this is our identity.

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