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Fairs & Festivals in Shimla
Shimla tourism highlights like most of the Indian cities, fairs and festivals in the valley. Most of these are mainstream and have been discussed in detail in the section on Religion.

Christmas :
Christmas is particularly fun here owing to the overwhelming British presence in the past. A white Christmas is what Shimla’s inhabitants really look forward to. Here we will only discuss festivals that are unique to this area or celebrated here in a manner distinct from the rest of the country.

Baisakhi :
Though celebrated in many northern states, this agrarian festival is celebrated differently in different regions of Himachal. Generally held on the first of Baisakh (13th April), it is called Bissu or Bisha in Shimla.

It signifies vigour and vitality and serves as a ritual before the onset of the harvesting season. Burning the jhalra – a pile of dry twigs with a pole bearing a conical bamboo basket erected in the middle – is an important ritual. It is set afire in the morning as young boys sing and dance around it.

Rhyali :
Rhyali is the festival of the rainy season. In the Indian society rains denote good harvest thus ensuring prosperity. Therefore it’s an absolute must to keep the rain god happy.

Rhyali is celebrated on the first of Shravana (16th July). Some ten days before this, seeds of five or seven kinds (wheat, barley and the like) are mixed together and sown ceremoniously by the head of the family or the family priest in a small basket filled with earth, or near the place where the household gods are kept.

Then one day before the actual day, a kind of a mock wedding is performed with a wooden hoe, and as many kinds of available fruits are placed near the tender saplings.
Clay images of Shiva and Parvati are placed amidst the tender growth, and the priest chants, "O Haryali, may thou ever remain in the green fields..." and a whole lot of rituals follow. Rhyali is same as Haryali of Kangra.

Contemporary Carnivals :
A Summer Festival conducted by the tourism of Himachal is held in Shimla every June which includes cultural programmes from Himachal and neighbouring states. An art and handicraft exhibition, a folk dance festival, a Mushaira (recitation of Urdu poetry), the Red Cross Fair, sports tournaments, a fashion show based on folk costumes and a flower show are also scheduled around this time to make most of the tourist season. The extravaganza of the Ice Skating Carnival is normally reserved for December, where the winter winds carry with them the delights of ice skating at Shimla.

Music And Dance
The style of music and dance in Shimla has not gone through much evolution. People over here still follow the traditional forms of dance & music of Simla. The dance and music of Shimla is basically religion oriented. All festivals are celebrated with traditional music and dance and they are an integral part of any festivity and celebration. The main purpose of indulging in music and dance is to invoke the Gods and seek their blessings. This practice has been prevalent since old days.

The music is dominated with instruments rather than vocals. The main instruments that are used while singing are Flute, Ektara Chimta, Ghariyal, Ghunghroo, etc. Along with these instruments, experienced people sing the traditional songs that are very pleasant to the ears. The major dance forms of Shimla are the Kayang Dance, Bakayang dance, Bnayangchu dance, Jataru Kayang dance, Chohara dance, Shand and Shabu dances and Rasa dance. These dances are exclusive to Shimla and are not practiced anywhere else.

Ice Skating Carnival Shimla
Shimla is India's favorite winter destination and what makes it truly special is the snowfall that it receives during the winters. Most tourists visit Shimla during the months of December, January and February to indulge in the lively ice sports like skiing, ice-skating or simple throwing snowballs! Shimla comes alive during the ice skating carnival that is held every year during winters. Shimla has the biggest open-air, natural ice rink in India. The ice-skating Club of Shimla organizes the ice skating carnival in Simla every year in January.

The club has already celebrated its Diamond jubilee and is thronged by tourists every year. The carnival is fun and lively and the various colors against the white backdrop of the snow make Shimla look like a wonderland. The ice skating sessions usually take place twice in a day, in the morning and evening. He sessions are usually uninterrupted since the skies are usually clear and temperatures are pretty low to keep the ice intact.

Skates are available at the rink itself and a nominal rent is charged for the same. The ice skating club organizes fairs and celebrates this carnival with much joy and fervor. The club organizes fancy dress competitions for the amusement of children. Other activities include ice hockey matches and colorful dances. The Municipal building right next to the Scandal point near the ice skating rink hangs a balloon to indicate whether skating is to be held that day or not.

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