Uttarakhand is well known for its ancient culture. In its daily life animals, birds, fields all basic amenities of human life is given utmost importance. Gods and Goddess are treated like family members and given a prestigious position in the family people treat Gods and Goddesses as their own and gives them a high and prestigious position in their family. Even being heavenly they are relatives of common men. In this tradition the people of Uttarakhand treat goddess Parvati as their mother/sister and lord Mahadev as son in law/ brother in law.
It is believed that in the seventh day of the month Bhadrapada (Aug-Sept) Gaura comes to her mothers place and the day next Lord Mahadev also arrives to his in laws place. Aatho (आठूं) festival is celebrated as a symbol of the same. Fifth day of the month of Bhadrapada five types of seeds (like- wheat, maize, gram, peas and kalaun- Having rich medicinal properties to cure common diseases of the season) are socked in water in brass pot and after two days, Saton (सातों)( i.e. saptami) it is brought to the naula (water resource of the village) and washed. At the same place an Idol (puppet, पुतला) of goddess Gaura (Gamara Didi, गमरा दीदी) is prepared by using seasonal crop & plants. After sacredation it is brought to the village and the whole village celebrates the arrival of elder sister Gamra. In the evening the family members are blessed with the seeds and theirafter seeds are eaten as the holy Prasad of mother parvati. On this occasion local fruits like malta, orange, Amla etc. kept on a cotton sheet and thrown upwards. Who ever unmarried girl catches any of the fruit, is said that she gets married before next Aathon festival.
In the evening the house where the gamra is kept, all the villagers gathers there and dance with folk songs in which Gaura’s blessings for the village is expected. Apart from this on the day of Aathon (Ashtmi) same Idol like a man is brought as a symbol of Maheshvar (Mahadev). This idol is kept with Gauras idol. The whole village dance on the arrival of their sun in law/ brother in law. Songs on this occasion sung is called khel(खेल/झोड़ा). This procession goes on for next four-five days.
On the day of the Saton (saptmi) all married women stay on fast and tie a holy thread on their hands and prays Lord Goddess for their long married life. On this occasion it is essential for all family members to buy and wear new clothes.
After four-five days Gamra and Mahashers idol is brought to the village temple and the villagers send off these idols with heavy hearts, this procession is called Gamra Silana (dispersed). Some of the old ladies even cries in sadness. Villagers pray to Gamra didi and Mahesher Bhina (brother-in-law) to bless all happiness to the village and to come soon in the next year.
This Festival is celebrated almost all over in Uttarakhand, but the customs to celebrate are different in different places. In Pithoragarh district on the dispersions ceremony organize a unique folk festival named Hill-Jatra.
The close relation between God and Human being seems only in Uttarakhand, so that Uttarakhand is called Devbhumi, Truly Devbhumi..