CHITRAL: There is a likelihood of the cancellation of the upcoming cultural events and festivals in Chitral over coronavirus outbreak.

Noted among the festivals to be held in the next three months is the famous spring festival of Kalash people.

The Binisik celebrations are held in the valleys of both upper and lower parts of Chitral, where wheat and barley are grown in the spring season. The growers make festivities on the occasion for two to three days.

However, no such event has been held in the valleys of Karimabad, Arkari, Gobor in lower Chitral and Terich, Rech, Khot and Yarkhoon in upper Chitral. The terrified growers began cultivation at the start of the melting of snow.

Last week, the residents of Lot Koh and Biyar valleys cancelled the Nauroze celebrations, which happen with great pomp and show, to prevent the people from the deadly virus.

The centuries-old Kagh Lusht festival in Upper Chitral is held regularly in the vast plateau of Kagh Lusht which turns lush green with the melting down of snow festooned by a wide variety of wild flowers.

The former rulers in 18thand 19thcenturies have been holding festival to welcome the spring season after tough winter season extending to four months and even today, the people of all ages keenly wait for the festival.

Zaman Baig Laal of Booni, one of the managers of the event last year, told Dawn that the festival would not be held this year as the horror of coronavirus has put the people at high alert who avoided such places of rush.

He said the district administration had banned all types of festivals and sports events over fears of coronavirus outbreak for a month, so it won’t be possible to hold the Kagh Lusht festival in the hot summer season.

Though theChilim Jushtfestival of Kalash people is held in all three Bumburate, Birir and Rumbur valleys in May, the residents have already stopped celebrating it. The Kalash people said preparations for the festival started from April by purchasing cloths and renovating homes and dancing places but the residents would remain confined to their homes.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2020