Uchal Kalash Summer Festival is the perfect trip for those who are enthusiastic in studying the life styles and ancient customs of the Kafir Kalash tribes living in three isolated valleys of Bumboret, Rambur and Birir in the heart of the Hindukush mountains.
Chilam Joshi Festival is one the most vital Kalash festivals in Pakistan. Kalash Festival is also known as Kalash spring festival.
Choimus Kalash Winter Festival is a perfect trip for those who are enthusiastic in studying the life styles and ancient customs of the Kafir Kalash tribes.
Chitral Kalash valley festival 2021/ 22
The Kalash or the Kalasha are the only pagan minority residing in the Chitral district
of the province of Khyber. The Kalashas live in three valleys of Chitral namely,
Rumbur, Brumbret and Birir. The Rumbur and Brumbret form a single culture due to
their very similar cultural practices, while Birir being the most traditional one forms a
separate culture. The number of kalash has decreased so much so that only around
4000 people are residing in the valleys. The Kalashas are polytheistic and according
to a renowned linguist Richard strand, is of the view that the people of Kalash
practice an ancient form of Hinduism which gradually developed locally and got
influenced by the neighboring areas of pre Islamic Nuristan.
The inhabitants of the Kalash valley celebrate a number of festivals all year round.
The three predominant festivals are as follows:
1) Joshi Spring Festival (May 13-16)
Joshi festival marks the arrival of spring. People wear new clothes and women
accessorize heavily, girls are sent to the hill side for dancing and singing. Women
decorate their houses and collect milk from the cattle. Moreover, one year old babies
and their mothers are also purified in this festival.
2) Uchal Festival (August 20-21)
The people of Kalash valley celebrate the famous annual harvesting festival Uchal
with singing, dancing and paying homage to the nature for blessing them with barley
and wheat harvest season. Special foods, cheese, buttermilk and corn bread, are
prepared for the event. Women in traditional dresses preforme dances.
3) Phool Festival (Mid-October)
The Phool / Autumn Festival is an annual colorful two-day festival in Birir Valley
celebrated with high spirit and zeal. The festival marks the reaping of grapes &
walnuts harvests. The people sing songs in the local language and perform
traditional dances throughout the two-day festival.
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4) Chaumas Festival (December)
The most important Kalash festival is the Chawmos (cawmōs, ghona chawmos yat,
Khowar “chitrimas” from *cāturmāsya, CDIAL 4742), which is celebrated for two
weeks at winter solstice (c. Dec. 7-22), at the beginning of the month chawmos
mastruk. It marks the end of the year’s fieldwork and harvest. It involves much
music, dancing, and the sacrifice of many goats. It is dedicated to the god Balimain
who is believed to visit from the mythical homeland of the Kalash, Tsyam (Tsiyam,
tsíam), for the duration of the feast. Food sacrifices are offered at the clans’ Jeshtak
shrines, dedicated to the ancestors.
At Chaumos, impure persons are not admitted; they must be purified by a waving fire
brand over women and children and by a special fire ritual for men, involving a
shaman waving juniper brands over the men. The ‘old rules’ of the gods (Devalog,
dewalōk) are no longer in force, as is typical for year-end and carnival-like rituals.
The main Chaumos ritual takes place at a Tok tree, a place called Indra’s place,
“indrunkot”. Indrunkot is sometimes believed to belong to Balumain’s brother, In(dr),
lord of cattle. Ancestors, impersonated by young boys (ōnjeṣṭa ‘pure’) are
worshipped and offered bread; they hold on to each other and form a chain and
snake through the village.