ISLAMABAD, Pakistan: Three day Kalash Spring Festival would start from May 14 in Kalash valley Chitral with traditional fanfare and festivities.
The festival commemorates the arrival of spring followed by summer and celebration of the expected abundance of dairy products during the season.
A large number of local and foreign tourists are expected to be part of the festival.
A spokesperson of Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation (PTDC) told that local tourists have started booking in the hotels.
“People started booking hotels one month ahead of the festival to avoid rush as many people faced difficulties in finding accommodations last year as most hotels in the areas were booked to capacity,” he added.
According to Kalash People’s Development Network on the first day of the festival, the Kalash will decorate their houses with flowers and people will wear new clothes.
The following day they will distribute milk among friends and loved ones and participate in the ritual of “Gulparik”.
The festival gives the message of peace to the world and this festival provides an opportunity for the people of Kalash to boost their economy through tourism.
Foreign tourists have been invited to visit and witness the festival.
The Kalash or the Kalasha are the only pagan minority residing in the Chitral district of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
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 language of the Kalash is the Kalasha and is a Dardic language – sub group of Indo-Aryan languages spoken in Northern Pakistan, eastern Afghanistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir.
The language is spoken by a handful of people approximately 5000 and is considered to be critically endangered by UNESCO. The Kalasha language has no proper script; however, there have been recent developments in introducing a formal script for the language.
The women of Kalash wear long black loose robes with colorful embroideries and cowrie shells. These women are also found wearing colorful beads and necklaces that further distinguish them from the other women of the Chitral region.
They accessorize their black robes by making use of colorful long braided head wears.
The males of the Kalash on the contrary have adopted the Pakistani national dress i.e. the shalwar kameez and are often found wearing waistcoats over them.
They also wear hats common to the northern area of Pakistan.