In a relief to the Pandit community in Kashmir, the separatists have decided that there will not be any shutdown on February 24, the day of the Maha Shivratri. The decision has been taken to ensure that the Hindu community in Kashmir can celebrate the festival with full fervor. In the local dialect, Shivratri is known as ‘Herath’. It is considered as the most important festival for the Kashmiri Pandit community.
The festival witnesses special prayers being organized at various Shiva temples. One of the important rituals involves the use of walnuts, which essentially represents the shape of the observable universe. Walnuts are kept in earthen pots and soaked with water, and later distributed among people.
It may be recalled that shutdowns have become a regular affair in Kashmir. The separatists issue the dates for the shutdowns, which is to mark their displeasure for the killing of Burhan Wani. Earlier, February 24 was marked as a day for shutdown. However, when some people pointed out that Shivratri was on the same day, the separatists called off their strike. Now, Kashmiri Pandits can look forward to enjoying their favorite festival in a hassle free manner.