PESHAWAR: The 15-day Chawmos winter festival of the Kalash community ended with fanfare in Bamburet Valley of Chitral region on Thursday.
The annual religious event was celebrated in the valleys of Rumbur, Birir and Bamburet simultaneously.
The Kalash exchanged fruits, vegetables, flowers and dried fruits with vows to forge love, peace, friendship, and fraternity among themselves.
Earlier, the children cleaned the holy place of the tribe with pine twigs before the annual bonfire was lit.
Children considered by the community to be a sign of the continuity of life and clad in colourful dresses darted about the village receiving gifts of fresh fruits.
The Kalash people gathered in Bamburet valley to jointly conclude the annual religious festival.
As part of their religious customs, the Kalash men and women sang songs and performed folk dance to the beat of drums.
Teenagers wearing animal hides and masks enthralled the audience with their performances.
Several events were also held. By the end of the festival, young Kalash men and women announced their marriages in front of the audience.
During this ritual called the Savilakehari festival, men, women and children wearing new and colourful clothes gather in a place and sing love songs for each other. They dance together and praise each other.
In the fun-filled festival, young girls and boys wear each other’s clothes, dance in chorus and express their feelings for each other before announcing their marriages.
During the festival, both men and women performed folk dances in honour of their god, Balimain, who is believed to visit Kalash during the event.
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Culture and Tourism Authority put up lights and informative and other signboards at different places to facilitate visitors.
In a statement, the KPCTA said its Tourist Facilitation Centre in Chitral city had helped and guided tourists.
Also, the Rescue 1122 relief stations established by the Kite project of the tourism department remained operational 24/7 during the event.
On the final day, the members of the tribes, old and young men, women and children sang songs and danced to their folk tunes to welcome the New Year at the end of the winter solstice.
Published in Dawn, December 23rd, 2022
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