One of the major attractions of Pakistan Cultural Festivals are Kalash Valleys Festivals. The Kalash Valleys of Rumbur, Bunboret and Birir are within Chitral in the North-West Frontier Province, near Nuristan in Afghanistan. The people here are some of the only non-Muslims for hundreds of miles. The home of kafir Kalash or wearers of the black rose, a primitive pagan tribe.The Kalash are ancient tribe and have a religion and culture of their own, their culture is unique as well as amazing one. A legend says that one General Salik Shah, who was called by the Greek as General Sulfurous with five soldiers of the legions of Alexander of MACEDON, settled in Chitral and are the progenitors of the Kafir Kalash. The Kalash are infamous for their festivals; these folks know how to let their hair down in style. There is much dancing where the elders chant legends with drum accompaniment and the women dance round outside. Locally brewed mulberry wine is drunk in copious quantities. The Kalash People celebrate three main festivals in year.
JOSHIO CHILMJUSHT (14TH-15TH OF MAY)
Joshi /Chilimjusht is the spring festival, in the middle of May lasts for four days. . The spring festival honours the fairies and allso safeguards the goats and shepherds before they go to the pastures. Before the festival the women and girls gather from all over the valley and decorate their houses. Inside the houses local wine and milk products are shared. The women then sprinkle milk on Goddess “Jestak “the protector of their children and home. The festival begins at Rumbur where the Shaman (soothsayer) and tribal chiefs lead a procession to the “Malosh altar” , high above Grum, to sacrifice goats to the Gods . Later the festival moves on to Bumboret and ends up at Birir, a few days later.
Every religious ceremony is accompanied by dancing and rhythmical chant to a beat of the drum. The women wearing their traditional black robes, ornate cowries shelled head dresses and adorned with colored necklaces, dance in a circle. Then the men join in : it may be a man and a women or a man in the middle with a women on each side, lovers being free to intermingle. One hand is held round the waist of the partner and the other round the shoulders. Tribal chiefs in colorful dresses narrate stories of bygone days and events
UCHAO O UTCHAL (19th – 20th August)
Kalash celebrate Uchao to pay homage to Almighty because of grapes and other ripe fruit. Uchao In Augusts marking the harvest of wheat and barley and bringing down of cheese from the high summer pastures. It is celebrated in Rumbur and Bumboret . Earlier in July it starts as the “ Ranat” with dances held on alternate days performed by the young girls and boys in order to safeguard the maize crop.Phoo festival: (End of September) It is only held in Birir around end of September to celebrate the grape and walnut harvest. Grape being a staple requirement in the Kalash society for making wine are grown on trees in protected sites. The holy tree being the best for such climbers. They are picked through out the valley on a particular day and is an occasion for joy and merry making. It is also an occasion of the shepherds returning from the high pastures.
CHOIMUSK (7th to 22nd December) As winter starts around mid-December the Chomos festival begins. The festival is observed for the divine, the living and dead relatives, for the crops and the goats to be safeguarded, while the community, the village and the valley are purified prior to the coming year. Sighting a fox is a good omen and great efforts are made in this regard. At dusk torch lit processions are led from all the nearby villages culminating at the “Charsue” which is the main customary dancing place. Most of the festivities are indoors where the local wine is handed around as the dance gathers momentum carries out till late in the night round the bonfire. While the tribal elders sit on hill tops at dawn to watch the rising sun and declare the New Year. Goat sacrifices are then made to the Godess “Jastak” , blood from the animal is sprinkled at the temple Jastak An. This is the time when “Balimine” another great God visits the Kalash valley once a year and sacrifices are made at his “ Malosh. Altar” too.
3 Hours Before Flight Time
Day-02 Drive to Chitral
Day 03: Drive to Bumburet, Kalash valley
Day 04-08: Festival days
Day 09: Drive back to Chitral
Day 10: Drive to Islamabad