Thursday, October 11, 2007

On the Eve of Eid

Astrologers unavailable
Leh, Ladakh

Thubsten Sanfan (see previous post) says (through the interpreter) that he doesn't have the almanac for my birth year. Not that it was SO long ago. He has the records for the previous year, and the one before that, and the one following my year. Just not my year. Since I am going to be in the region for a while, we convinced him to go and look in his "library" or perhaps in the Men-Tse-Khang (Tibetan medicine headquarters) for the info.

Tibetan medicine and Ladakhi traditional medicine (known as Amchi) rely on a combination of natural herbs, psychological evaluation of "imbalances" and astrology. So, I figured the Men-Tse-Khang, who also do astrological analysis, should have some ephemera. (An astrological data book showing positions of the planets is called, in English, an Ephemeris.)

It's just about time for Eid el Fitr, the biggest Muslim holiday of the year that marks the end of Ramadan. Ninety-five percent of the Kashmiri merchants have packed up their shawls and jewelery into tin trunks, pulled down the metal gates on their shops and headed for Srinagar. Most of them have wives and family waiting for them there. I think a few Kashmiri and of course Ladakhi Muslims will be here to celebrate Eid.

Eid is a picturesque time; all the men put on spanking new kurtas and topis, and go around ritually embracing one another. Lots of smiles and general good will. My friend Parvez said it's mostly a domestic holiday, a visit to the mosque followed by lots of relatives and friends dropping by, bringing holiday food and feasting and sharing.

I'm getting my Restricted Area Permit together, thanks to the guys at good old Glacier Trek n Travel, to visit Dha-Hanu Valley, home of the last Aryan Buddhists. They will be celebrating their indigenous festival called BoNoNah, which occurs only once ever three years. As I am lucky enough to be here on the third year, it seemed too good to miss.

1 comment:

Vi said...

I wish I could see / partake Eid celebrations, they always sound so much fun!