CHITRAL: 3 days long Joshi festival which is usually known as Chelum Josht annual religious cum spring season festival of Kalash tribes concluded at Birir of Kalash valley on Tuesday. Hundred of domestic as well as foreign tourists attended the festivals to enjoy and enthralled from colorful events, unique customaries, and strange ways of worship of Kalash people. There was tight security to overcome any untoward situation in the valley. Kalash people celebrating different seasonal cum religious festivals in a year. They celebrate their first festival of Joshi (Chelum Josht in Chitrali language) in the month of May on arrival of spring season. Due to sever cold weather and situating on high altitude Kalash valleys are often remain cool and weather is very pleasant in the month of May as spring season also starting from first May. They collect milk, cheese, curd, and dry fruit before starting the festival and distributing among women and children on inauguration ceremony of this festival. Joshi festival is celebrating each year from May 13 to 14 at Rumbor Valley, 15 to 16 at Bumborte valley and 17-18 May at Birir valley. During this festival Kalash man beating drum and their women performing folk and traditional dance singing traditional and folk songs welcome to spring season and praying for good luck of New Year. Sometimes teenager (both boys and girls) perform dance jointly putting their hands on the shoulders of each other while women also putting hands on shoulders of other women and dancing in a round circle on the beating of drum singing songs. They gathered at first village of Kalash community performing dance and in beating of drum they approach to their Dance place Charso at Batrik village.
On the last day of the festival Kalash women while shifting from first dance place to real place called Charso holding tree twigs and leaf in their hands and roses and displaying them while some women performing dance beneath their standing place in the fields. There is a romantic scene at that time and no Muslim or a Non Kalash is allowed to enter in their row. They carrying leaf and tree twigs in their hands and other women perform dance while their religious leader called Qazi wearing colorful over coat and shirt holding sticks in their hands and performing folk dance. Later on they smoothly taking step and proceed to their Charso (dancing place) they once again dancing with great enthusiasm and spirit when they reached their. Men and Qazi beating drums turn by turn and they also moving in round circle standing at one place. At evening Kalash men and boys go separate from their women folk and holding once again roses, flowers, tree twigs and leaf in their hands and they move them regularly and singing a special religious song while their Qazi throwing mil in the maze fields. No one is allowed to come in the way of this procession of kalash men holding twigs, leaf in hand and singing a special song. While their women folk and beloved one also waiting for their men and first row of women also holding twigs, leaf and roses in their hands and moving them regularly.
They coming slowly and when the song is ended they showering these leaf and roses on their women folk and once again together and performing rhetorically dance. When group of men reached near women group they showering flowers, leaf and twigs on the women folk to express their great love towards women and their beloved one. At that night youngest boys and girls who love each other arranging for eloping and to flee away some other village where they announce of their love marriage. And that is the drop seen of their love.
Kalash people celebrate an other festival in the last week of May that is called Mrach Waki Zhoshi (Mulberry ripeness celebration) that is one day and they shifted their cattle to grazing house. The third festival is Ragnat which is being celebrating in July where they dancing at night time and play other colorful programs. The fourth festival is called Uchao which is also celebrating in August at night time. The last festival is Chamos which is starting from Dec 9 and ended on December 22 each year. This is the last and fifth festival of Kalash community. During this festival they kill their animal from neck (back side considering Haram for Muslims) not properly slaughtering them and eat it. They drink local wine as well as their women and children also drink wine. No Muslim is allowed during 3 days to enter their homes. Usually they use meat of animal slaughter by Muslims community.
Joshi festival of 2010 was more important because they were very happy on releasing of Greek social worker, volunteer Professor Athanasios Lerounis who had been kidnapped by Taliban from Bumborat in September 2009 and was recovered in April 2010. More than 70 foreigners tourists also had arrived their to enjoy these colorful events. Hence approaching roads of these Kalash valleys are in a very dilapidated condition and need immediate repair and blacktopping. The most vulnerable culture of Kalash having the history of 5000 years the old culture is in great danger. As their population also decreasing day by day by different means like conversion towards Islam, high mortality rates, no facilities of health and hygienic foods etc. Once Kalash had ruled on Chitral and they have territory from Chaqasrai Afghanistan to Broghul of Tajikistan border. Chiw, Kamyata etc were great popular ruler of Kalash cast. Hence their regime was occupied by Raees and Kator later on. Now their total number is less than 4000 in three valleys. Hence due to their unique culture, dress, methods of living, customary practices, festivals, worship, doctrine they are more popular and famous in the world. A large number of tourists around the world approaching this valley of peace, love and affectionate to enjoy from their different colorful festivals in a very peaceful environment. Kalash are very peaceful, peace lover and innocent people in case of conversion towards Islam they never hate them and give them their heirs rights in their land and property. Similarly if a girl married a Muslim after converting to Islam her parents never discourage or hate her but keep great relation with her and her husband
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