University of Chitral
It’s the religious festival of the Kalash which is alternately called as Spring Festival and it is celebrated every year from 13th to 18 May in all the three valleys. The purpose to celebrate this festival is to pray to God for blessing the new year with prosperity, happiness, good health, better crops production, increase in dairy products, increase in animal herds, increase in fruits, increase in honey production etc. Simply the main theme of this festival to pray the deity for blessing them with economic uplift, better life conditions and prosperity. During this festival all the Kalash women, men, boys and girls perform the rites of dancing, singing followed by sumptuous dinners. All of them wear new dresses, look full of life and happiness. As part of the tradition fresh milk and other dairy product of the goats and cows are served to the guests and to their own families too.
Uchaw (Uchal) is the summer festival celebrated in by the Kalasha community. This festival is celebrated only in the Kalash Valleys of Mumuret (Bumborate) and Rukmu (Rumboor) and not in Birio (Birir) valley where the PU’N (Phool) festival is celebrated instead of Uchaw. As Zhoshi (Chilim Jusht) the Festival of Uchaw also enjoys a great religious importance. The main purpose of celebrating this festival Uchaw (Uchal) is to pray to God and to offer thank for blessing prosperity, good health, happiness, good crops and good dairy products. This festival celebrates the summer season and abundance in dairy product in high pastures. This festival begins with dance in the nights from mid-June which is called RAT-NAT (means dancing in the Night) which continues till 21st August. These night dances serve as prologue to the Uchaw (Uchal). On the 22nd August the shepherds bring the fresh dairy products from the high pastures and then the rituals begin at the altar called Sajigore. After that the Kalash people gather in Ghriee (Charsoo) dance and sing in the Charsoo locally called GHRIEE. After this festival, they Kalash start to harvest the maize crops, collect the grapes, walnuts and other fruits from their fields and orchards.
Pu’n (Phool) is also a religious Festival celebrated in Autumn Season only in the Kalash Valley Birio (Birio). This festival which is celebrated on 15th October every year, has the same importance like Uchaw (Uchal). During this festival many rituals are performed. Pu’n (Phool) festival celebrations spread over three or four days. Night dance, singing and rituals are performing in various villages. The day dance, sing and other rituals are offered in the last day of the Pu’n(Phool).
Chawmos (Chitirmast) is the 3rd and last Festival, the Kalasha people celebrate from 7th to 22nd December every year. This is the most important festival of the Kalash. The importance of this festival is to offer thanks to God for blessing a prosperous year by sacrificing goats in altar called Sajigore, Shepherd houses in the pastures and living houses by all Kalash people. Beside this the Kalash people also burn junipers in shepherd house and altars. Most of the rituals related to Kalash religious are performed in this festival. During this festival night and day dancing and singing are performed too.
When a child becomes five years old then this ceremony takes place. The Children wear a special dress and turban in head, which are gifted by uncle or other maternal relatives. The children offer fruits, traditional handmade belt etc. to their uncles and mother side relatives. And in return it is a norm that the uncles and the mother side relatives give goats to the children. In Kalash religious point of view this is the much important festival. In this festival many rituals and prayers are performed. This festival lasts almost two weeks.
Chik (Funeral, Dead or Fautgi) Chik means cut or separation. In Kalash religious point of view all the universe is created by God. The human-beings to insects, everything in the universe is created by one God. So the Man cannot do anything against God’s will. Everything is mortal in the Universe. Chik is performed on the death of a Kalash member, the rituals of this tradition include dancing and singing sad songs followed by sumptuous feasts. The purpose of this singing and dancing is that, all are created by God, one day everyone must go towards the One and only one God. So, the Kalash believe this, and happily hand over the deposit to God again, so the Kalash celebrate the return of man to God.
The Cell for Kalasha Study is the forum to highlight the best of the Kalasha Culture. The Kalasha is the most ancient civilization residing at Bamboorat, Birir and Rumbor (the valleys of Chitral, KP, Pakistan).