A population of approximately 9,000 (2003) people residing in Chitral, district of Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, are known and speak the language of Kalash from Dardic family of Indo-Aryan branch. They are known as Nation of Alexander the Great.
They lived in three small valleys of Bumburet, Birir and Rumbur and are considered to be the smallest religious community of Pakistan. These also lived in Nuristan (historically known as Kafiristan). A province of Afghanistan but in the late 19th century much of Nuristan converted to Islam. The kalash religion is polytheist faith and the people offer sacrifices for their God.The culture is interlinked with their religion and is based upon several festivals and celebrations.
The kalash Women usually wear long black robes often embroidered with cowrie shells while Men have adopted the Pakistani shalwar kameez. Girls and women’s with menstruation period are sent to live in a specific house called “Bashalleni” a village menstrual building. The females have to live in this building until they regain their “purity”. They are also required to give birth in bashalleni.
While coming to festivals, the three main festivals of the kalash are the Joshi (chilimjusht) festival which takes place from 15th to 17th of May each year. Second one is Chawmos (chitrimas) celebrated in winter from 7th to 22nd December and last is Budulak (the shepherd king) in this festival, a strong prepubescent boy is sent up into the mountains to live with the goats for the summer. He is supposed to get fat and strong from the goat milk.
This Article is written by Zuljalal Ali Akram, Student of BS Media Studies. under supervision of Ms. Anum Aziz. Lecturer of English at Bahria University.