Experience the Vibrant Chilam Joshi Festival in Kalash Valleys, 2024

Experience the Vibrant Chilam Joshi Festival in Kalash Valleys, 2024

Immerse yourself in the rich culture of the Kalash people at the annual Chilam Joshi Festival, a four-day celebration from May 13th to 17th, 2024. The festival will be held in the three picturesque Kalash valleys of Bumburet, Birir, and Rumbur, attracting tourists and culture enthusiasts from around the globe.

A Celebration of Tradition and Joy

The Chilam Joshi Festival is a vibrant display of the Kalash people’s cultural richness and joyous spirit. The festival commences with ‘Milkday,’ where the Kalash offer libations of milk saved for 10 days before the occasion. This unique tradition sets the tone for the colorful celebrations that follow.

Dance to the Beat of the Drums

One of the festival’s highlights is the traditional dances performed by Kalash girls and boys to the rhythm of traditional drums. Dressed in vibrant traditional clothes adorned with gold and silver jewelry, and elaborate headgear, the women of Kalash present a mesmerizing sight. The men, in their traditional shalwar kameez and woolen waistcoats, join the dance, forming a circle and moving to the rhythmic chant of drum beats.

Prayers for Prosperity and Protection

The Kalash people seek the blessings of their God during the festival, praying for the safety of their herds and crops. They spread milk on their Gods, a ritual aimed at ensuring the protection of their fields and animals.

A Journey through the Festivities

The Chilam Joshi Festival begins in the Rumbur Valley before extending to other Kalash valleys. Each day of the festival brings unique rituals and ceremonies:

  • Day 1: Z’oshi/Zosh Ceremony – Boys and girls pluck wildflowers and walnut leaves from higher pastures to the beat of drums.
  • Day 2: C’irik pi pi (Milk Drinking and Distribution Day) – Goat stables are decorated with wildflowers and walnut leaves, and singing rituals take place in every village.
  • Day 3: Community Gathering – Villages gather at the top of the village to distribute dried mulberries and walnuts for the ceremony on their newly born babies.
  • Day 4: Ghona Ceremony – All villagers of the Kalash community gather at the main venue for similar rituals and ceremonies.

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