Four-day spring festival kicks off in Chitral

Four-day spring festival kicks off in Chitral

The Kalasha Chilim Jusht Festival kicked off on Monday with the first ritual the “chirik pipi”, which is the milking distribution by shepherds to welcome the spring commencing in the Bumburet Kalash valley.

To the indigenous people, the event is the culmination of religious life and just like the big funerals brings people together.

The spring festival which is typically held in the middle of May spans  for four days.

The festival lauds fairies as well as safeguarding goats and shepherds before they go to the pastures.

Girls gather from all over the valley and decorate their houses with local wine and milk products shared in their homes.

The women then sprinkle the milk on the goddess Jestak which is believed to be the protector of their children and homes.

The festival starts at Rumbur where the Shaman (soothsayer) and tribal chiefs lead a procession to the “Malosh altar”, high above Grum, to sacrifice goats to the gods.

Later on the festival moves on to Bumburate and comes to a close at the Birir, a few days later.

The Kalasha are a colourful and ancient indigenous people. They are known to be cheerful, generous, witty and fond of rejoicing and merry making.

Their women folk have an outgoing manner that is disarming, delightful and unexpected.

Every religious ceremony is accompanied by dancing and rhythmical chants to the beat of the drum.

The women embellished in their traditional black robes, ornate cowries shelled head dresses which are adorned with coloured necklaces, dance in circles.

Then men then join in, either a man and a women or a man in the middle with a women on each side with lovers free to intermingle.

One hand is held round the waist of the partner and the other round their shoulders.

The tribal chiefs (Kazis) in their colourful dresses narrate stories of bygone days and events.

Deputy Commissioner Chitral Irshad Sodhar is committed to celebrate this event with great pomp and show.

He invited media personnel to cover the event so a positive image could be shown to the world.

“This will help to promote tourism and attract tourists to Chitral,” Sodhar said.

Sodhar said that he inducted a “Hospitality Platoon” in Chitral Levies to facilitate tourists and for the first time female levy staff would be deputed for this event to facilitate families.

The authorities have devised a traffic plan for Ayun-Bamborate road so that tourists reach are not inconvenienced.

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