Khatarua is essentially the special festival of pastoral- agricultural society and celebrated on the first day of the month of Ashwin in mid September, and signifies the beginning of the autumn. On this day people light bonfires, around which children dance, holding aloft colourful flags. People take special care of their animals and feed them fresh grass. Cucumbers are offered to the fire of Khatarua, which is said to destroy all evil influences.
The victory of the king of Kumaon over Garhwalis is also said to be one of the reasons for the celebration of Khatarua. It is said that Kumauni soldiers carrying banners depicting a cow vanquished the enemy and bonfires were lit to declare the victory.