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GILGIT: Gilgit-Baltistan residents are celebrating the biggest spring festival of Nauroz on Thursday (today) as the two-day traditional Tukhmrezi festival kicked off in Yasin valley of Ghizer district on Wednesday.

The GB government has announced official holiday on the occasion of Nauroz.

Gatherings will be held in every village to celebrate the spring festival with traditional zeal. People have decorated homes, shops and markets. People have been purchasing new clothes for children and traditional dishes are being prepared.

Musical programmes, traditional sports competitions, including polo, are part of the activities of the day.

Rustam Ali, a resident of Gilgit, said Nauroz was considered the biggest sprinter festival in the region and people had been celebrating it for centuries.

The main purpose of celebrating the day is to start a new life after harsh winter, and people pray for a successful and prosperous year ahead.

Meanwhile, a two-day traditional Tukhmrezi festival kicked off on Wednesday in Yasin valley of Ghizer district. The festival is celebrated in Ghizer and Hunza, starting in last week of February and culminating before Nauroz. However, this year the Tukhmrezi festival started late following continued harsh weather, and is being celebrated with Nauroz.

Inaugural ceremony of the festival was held in Yasin valley, where elders, women, children and elected members of the area participated.

The participants repaired a water channel symbolically to start new agricultural season and distributed food and danced on traditional music.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2019