Fairs in Himachal Pradesh have very positive role to play in social life. It is in fact with different outlook that people here celebrate and participate in the fairs. Himachal is a land of ‘Devi’ and ‘Devtas’ and most of the fairs are most of the fairs are of mythological nature. But to keep on rhythm in various walks of life, fairs have occupied predominant role and acquired varied dimensions, such as; trade, agricultural, seasonal and fairs connected with festivals etc. so intensive the fairs have become, that people of all shades and interests participate in large numbers. There is hardly any village where no fair is held. There is almost continuous succession of fairs.
Baishakhi (Bishu, Bisoa): This fair is held at various places in the State. People carry village deity with music procession from one place to another. In upper hills, people perform ‘Mala dance’ by joining hands to form a large circle. During day time, some games like archery and wrestling are also played. This festival is more popular in lower hills.
Minjar Fair : Minjar (Maize flowers) is the fair celebrated in district CHAMBA at a place ‘Chaugan’ in Chamba town. This festival is held in the month of August (on second Sunday). It continues for a week. Maize flowers, a coconut, a rupee or a smaller coin, a fruit and a few paddy tentacles are offered to ‘Varuna’, the God of rains, in the river Ravi. A procession starts from ‘Akhand Chandi’ Palace and terminates at the river bank. After the Minjars are floated, people distribute sweets and scents. During the celebrations, feasts and musical concerts are organized at various places in the town. Raja of Chamba used to organize this festival earlier, but now municipal Committee has taken all related responsibilities. Minjar fair has been given the status of a state fair.
Naina Devi Fair : This fair is held in the month of August, at Naina Devi temple, in district Bilaspur, which is eight kilometers from the Gangual Power House. This is the most delightful fair in district BILASPUR.
Kullu Dushehra : Kullu Dushehra mirrors Himachal culture in its entirely. It throws light on the life, love of dance and music of the people in this region. To see the colourful Himachal at one place, Kullu Dushehra is the right place. Dushehra in Kullu starts on the ‘Vijay Dasmi’ day and continues for seven days. Although Dushehra is celebrated all over the country, but in Kullu, starts it hhas its own distinctive glamour. The famous idol of ‘Raghunathji’ which is carried from its fixed place in ‘Dhaulpur Maidan’ to another spot across the ‘maidan’ was brought from Ayodhya In July 1651 A.D. by one Damodar Dass and installed in Kullu by Raja Jagat Singh. The pulling of ropes in regarded sacred by the local people.
Lavi : This fair is held in the month of October-November every year at RAMPUR-BUSHAHR. The word ‘Lavi’, is derived from the word ‘Loe’ which in local parlance means a sheet of woollen cloth. Another meaning of Lavi is shearing of the sheep. Lavi fair, as the past accounts run, took place took place twice, in the months of June and November, which are suited to shearing of sheep, thus making available the wool in abundance. But now it is held only once in a year. In ancient times, Tibet and Kinnaur had good trade relations and Lavi fair is the outcome of business interest of both sides. People from other areas in general and tribal belt in particular participate in this fair with horse, mules, pashminas, colts, yaksm, chilgoza, namdas, pattis, woolens, raw semi-finished wool and other dry fruits produced in the state are brought for selling. Lavi fair is almost three hundred years old and now provided with status of international fair.
Renuka Fair : this fair is celebrated in the month of November for six days. Renuka fair starts ten days after the Diwali festival. The legend goes that Parshuram, the youngest son of nother Renuka, used to visit his mother every year. The fair commemorates the annual meeting of Parshuram and Renuka. The place where fair is held, mother Renuka and her husband Rishi Jamdagani used to live. According to another version the sage Jamdagani was murdered by one named Saharrarjuna. Renuka was a devoted wife. Struck by the incident, she jumped into the lake, thus putting an end to her life. The lake was named after Renuka, who assumed the status of goddess after the great sacrifice, Parshuram is believed to be the sixth incarnation of Lord Vishnu. In an impressive procession, many idols of Parshuram are taken in palanquins to Parshuram Temple situated on the hill top.
The Shivratri Fair : This fair is held in the month of February on Shivratri day in MANDI. Shiva is the chief deity of Himachal people. This fair continues for a week, with great fun and frolic. On this occasion, people bring hundreds of Gods and Goddesses in their ‘Raths’. Devotees carry them on shoulders amidst melodious religious songs. People pay their homage to Lord Shiva at famous temple of ‘Bhut Nath’ in Mandi town.
Holi Fair : It is held in the month of March every year in district Hamirpur at SUJANPUR. This fair has also been accorded the status of a state fair. It exhibits traditional limelight of Holi, the festival of colours. People from all over Himachal come to participate in it. A week long fair provides wholesome entertainment through various games, songs, dances, folk dramas and skits performed by local artists. Business activities are also in full swing throughout the week.
The Nalwari Fair : Nalwari Fair’s (Bilaspur Nalwari) idea was conceived by ‘W. Goldstein’, the Superintendent of Shimla Hill States in 1889. The idea was motivated by a shortage of the good breed cattle, especially bullocks, which are so important for good agriculture and are a prominent feature of the economy of the hilly terrain. In the beginning, people from Nalagarh, Una, Hoshiarpur, Ropar and adjoining areas of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh used to participate and bring bullocks of good breed. But now fair has gathered local touch in total. Now it has become more a business opportunity event. This fair is held in the month of March every year. It has been declared a state fair now. Nalwari of Sundernagar district Mandi, Jahu and Gasota of district Hamirpur are also very famous.