The history of the Kalash is shrouded in mystery. A long held romantic view is that they are descended from the deserters of Alexander the Great’s army, but there appears to be little concrete evidence to support this theory. The Kalasha themselves say they are descended from a General Shalakshah in Alexander’s army. According to Professor Paolo Graziosi, Professor of Anthropology and Prehistory at the University of Florence, in an abridged text published in the Illustrated London. News, March 30th 1963, the Kalash have purely Europoid traits reminiscent of Mediterranean or, under certain aspects, Alpine peoples. He found the Kalasha to have light skin, sometimes light coloured eyes, regular features and were of medium height. Some of the women he found truly beautiful.
Chitral is the northwestern district of Pakistan; Kalash Valley is situated in that district and is 35 km far away from the Chitral city. Kalash Valley is at 35-40N latitudes and 71-40 E longitude in Hindu Kush Mountain-range (DCR, 2002). The weather in peak is very pleasant and most suitable for tourist, however, in off there is heavy snowfall and is very much colder. Average annual rainfall of Kalash Valley is about 250-400 mm and this Valley is 1800 m to 3800m above the sea level (Aziz and rare 2003). As discussed earlier that in Kalash Valley there are three small valleys which are called Birir, Bumborait and Rambour. Birir Valley is situated at the southernmost tip and 34 km away from Chitral city. Bumborait Valley (major valley of Kalash) is 35 km from Chitral city and Rambour Valley is 32 km far away from Chitral city. The difference between Bamborait and Rambour Valley is about 13 km (T.D.C.P., 2008).
The Kalash celebrate five festivals in a year, in their festival they offer sacrifices on altars, food preparation and dance in their traditional way for a week. The reason behind that sacrifice is to please gods; their religious rituals are executed with high regards to favor of super-natural beings, according to the Kalash mythology. The festivals are as follows:
Chilim-jusht is their biggest festival and is celebrated on May 13 to May 16. This spring festival is trying to find the blessings of gods in terms of herd’s safety and crops.
Utchal is their second festival and is celebrated on Aug. 18 to Aug. 21 every year. The reason behind that festival is to enjoy the peak season, moreover for the profusion of the dairy products during peak pasture.
In mid of Oct every year, the Phoo festival is celebrated. There is no fixed date of this autumn festival because it depends on the ripening of the crop and fruit. One more reason of this festival celebration is for returning of the livestock’s herds from the peak pasture.
Chaomos festival in celebrated on Dec. 8 to Dec. 21, this off festival is the biggest and longest festival in Kalash culture. The reason behind this festival is offering sacrifices to their grand Kalash god, Mahandeo.
Rot-not festival is not the prominent festival in Kalash culture, but it continues from June 21 to Aug. 21 of every year. There is a special place named Charsu in Brun and Krakal in Bumboraitt & Rambour valley, where adult ones get together for dancing and singing for consoling loving couples.
Location: Chitral,Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, KPK
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