An age-old Pakhtun ritual seeking rain during summer

June 14, 2021

PESHAWAR: Though traditions are dying, at certain places in Khyber Pakhtun-khwa the people suffering from the heat wave have resorted to the good old practice of going door-to-door with blackened...

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PESHAWAR: Though traditions are dying, at certain places in Khyber Pakhtun-khwa the people suffering from the heat wave have resorted to the good old practice of going door-to-door with blackened faces and collecting donations to cook food and serve it to seek Allah’s blessings for rains.

Young boys take a lead in performing this ritual. They help each other to blacken their faces as they knock at doors while chanting simple poetry in Pashto. “Tormakhay Baba Ghwaree, pa Makh Saperah Ghwaree,” is how it starts, meaning the Baba with black face is seeking a donation as well as a slap on the face. It is pure and simple fun.

The boys don’t leave until they are given some money or flour. A few small girls and elderly men may also be around, but it is just to enjoy the fun. The boys with blackened faces are difficult to recognize if the paint job is thickly done.

The money is then used to buy meat to get it cooked and make bread. Those performing the ritual have a strong belief that rains would come once this practice is performed.



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