Kalash Festivals

The Kalash Valleys of Rumbur, Bunboret and Birir are within Chitral District in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan and near Nuristan in Afghanistan. The people here are some of the only non-Muslims for thousands of miles. It is the home of kafir Kalash or wearers of the black rose, a primitive pagan tribe. The Kalash are an ancient tribe and have a religion and culture of their own. Their culture is an unique as well as amazing one. A legend says that one General Salik Shah, who was called by the Greek as General Sulfurous, with five soldiers of the legions of Alexander of MACEDON, settled in Chitral and are the progenitors of the Kafir Kalash. The Kalash are infamous for their festivals; these folks know how to let their hair down in style. There is much dancing where the elders chant legends with drum accompaniment and the women dance around outside. Locally brewed mulberry wine is drunk in copious quantities. The Kalash People celebrate three main festivals in a year.

JOSHIO CHILMJUSHT ( 14TH -15TH OF MAY)
Function is organized to pay thanks to the Almighty. They celebrate the arrival of spring season with new hopes and aspirations.

UCHAO O UTCHAL (19th – 20th August)
Kalash celebrate Uchao to pay homage to the Almighty because of grapes and other ripe fruit. They prepare wine, cheese, corn etc. and rejoice Uchao.

CHOIMUS. (7th to 22nd December)
Choimus is a winter festival celebrated to welcome the New Year. The entire population remains indoors. It is celebrated by feasting, drinking and merry making. It is a thanksgiving function to the Almighty for their bumper crops, fruits, animals and eatable stores for winter. Winter is full of snow, rain and cold wind. People sacrifice animals in the name of the Almighty, rejoice with wine, fruit, assemble for dancing, singing and enjoy every event and moment.

SHANDUR POLO TOURNAMENT
July 7th – July 11th

At Shandur Pass, near Chitral and Gilgit border on the highest Polo grassy ground in the world, 12,500 feet. Polo matches, folk music and dances. People gather from all over the region, arriving by truck, jeep, horseback, and even some by foot. This tour is popular with travelers looking for an extreme cultural experience as well as horse lovers.