Chilimjusht festival greets spring season in Chitral

  • Kalash people celebrate festival while dancing to traditional music, drumbeats

PESHAWAR: The Chilimjusht festival kicked off simultaneously at the scenic Bamburate, Birir and Rumbur valleys in Chitral on Monday.

The festival, which is also called Chilim Joshi, is a spring festival that is held every year in the Kalash valley. The festival will continue for three days. The Tourism Corporation of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (TCKP) has established a tent village for the tourists.

The corporation has made arrangements to facilitate the tourists. The festival started with ‘Milkday’ on which the Kalash people offers milk that had been saved for 10 days prior to the occasion. The festival is the most important event of the Kalash people as it signifies end of chilling cold in the mountainous region and the people celebrate the arrival of spring and summer seasons.

The Kalasha people make arrangements for taking their herds for the summer pastures. Small kids wear new clothes and they are baptized. The ceremony of the baptism of kids is called Pich Injek while a young man sprinkles milk on the newborns and their mothers. A number of tourists including French, Italian and Australian families have already arrived in Chitral to enjoy the festival.

A group of motorcyclists is also in Chitral to participate in the adventure tourism activities during the Chilimjusht festival. The local Tourist Information Centre (TIC) staff members are cooperating with the tourists and they are briefed on the culture, traditions, tourist attractions, religious rites, particularly the Chilimjusht festival.

The tourists evinced keen interest in the local culture and traditions. The people of Kalash celebrate the festival while dancing to the traditional music and drumbeats. They thank god Goshidai as they believe it protects their herds during spring and summer seasons. Young girls and boys sing and dance in groups in the community halls.

Houses are decorated and the Kalash people wear new clothes that are specifically prepared for the occasion. Main feature of the festival is a selection of life partner for unmarried boys and girls.