Kalash celebrated Zhoshi (Spring) Festival

Kalash celebrated Zhoshi (Spring) Festival

 CHITRAL, 17 May 2007:  Three day long festival of Zhoshi was celebrated by the Kalash Communities in the valleys of Rukmu, Biriu and Mumuret Chitral District, from May 14 to 16.  The Kalash communities living in these three picturesque valleys have a very unique culture. Zhoshi is celebrated by
the Kalash community every year in the month of May while they also celebrate 3 other festivals.  The Kalash men and women dance as a part of their worship. They celebrate Chamos festival in December in which they slaughter he goats for men and she goats for women. They eat them while their women folk remain inside their houses and not came out. They eat she goats while he goats are banned for them. Their third festival is Ochaw celebrated when their wheat crop ripens they gather and dance for one month. Talking to this correspondent an old Kalash woman Shangaria said that we are living here for the last 4500 years and celebrating our festivals (especially religious festivals) simultaneously in our three valleys Mumuret, Rukmu and Biriu. She said that we slaughter 50 goats in case of death of a woman while 60 to 100 on death of man. She said that we keep dead body of a woman for one day and at least 2 days of a man. They all dancing around the dead body and all relatives come here from far flung areas to see dead bodies. Responding to a question that why they dance over the death of their family members instead of mourning she responded that once a child is born we express our happiness and celebrate thus when he or she return to the other world after death we celebrate the same way to send him/her happily to the other world .Talking to this correspondent social worker Durdana said they wanted to preserve their culture. She said the Kalash community plays vital role in promotion of tourism in the area as every year hundreds of foreign and domestic tourists arrived here. She said Kalash people also facing numerous problems. Kalash communities also consider religious extremists a threat to their culture and religion said an old Kalash woman. She said that some religious clerics were forcing us to convert to Islam but we refuse them because we want to preserve our culture. There is no proper place in the Kalash valleys for their rituals or to celebrate their festivals. A group of 11 people comprising on disable youth arrived from Lahore after 27 hours drive to see this function but they were shocked when they could not reach the venue of Kalash function due to no way for their wheel chairs. Besides foreign tourists also expressed disappointment due to poor networking of communication system. There is no telephone line or any mobile service in the valleys.  There is no facility of modern era like electricity, telephone, black top road, Hospitals and Doctors in the area. Even there is no girl’s high school and people are compelled on co-education. If these areas were developed and roads were improved they could be a great source for attracting tourists and promoting tourism, which in turn will positively impact economy of Chitral and
Pakistan. Tourists had arrived here from
France,
USA,
UK,
Germany,
Australia and other European countries. (Report, photos by GH Farooqi) 

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