CHITRAL: The annual religious festival of Kalash tribe ‘Ochawo’ concluded in Bumborat valley.
The people of Kalash tribe often celebrate this festival in the middle of the year after harvesting wheat crop. During this festival, the people of Kalash valleys prepare different dairy foods and distribute it among people even in Muslim community and offer prayers.
A young woman from Kalash tribe, Armeena, said boys play drumbeats and women dance and sing religious songs on beating of drum in groups. She said all people eat together during the festival, celebrate the occasion and perform prayers.
A British tourist ssid she was greatly impressed by the fascinating culture of Kalash tribe. She said the Kalash culture must be preserved and it must not be lost. She said people from across the world visit Kalash every year due to these unique festivals of Kalash tribe.
During the festival, the Kalash people collect flowers and visit families who have recently lost their loved ones. The Kalash people give flowers to bereaved families who later also join them in Ochawo celebrations.
People of the area also dance during night-time during the festival. They prepare dairy foods and offer it to other people, including Muslims.
Local MPA Wazirzada Kalash told this scribe that the tribespeople thank the Almighty for blessings during the festival. He said the world, particularly India, must see how Pakistani people love the people of minority Kalash community and learn from it.
He said the population of Kalash people is very small, but they enjoy full freedom for observing their religious festivals due to the cooperation and help of the Muslim population.
Chitral’s deputy commissioner, assistant commissioner and other administration officers also participated in the Ochawo festival. The officials were given the gifts of traditional cloaks which is considered a symbol of honor. A large number of national and foreign tourists visited Kalash valley to see the festival. But most of the tourists complained about poor condition of roads and lacks of facilities for them.
MPA Wazirzada expressed disappointment over poor condition of roads to Kalash valley and said in such a worsen situation tourist will never return to Chitral after seeing condition of roads.
People of Kalash community as well as domestic and foreign tourists demanded l the federal and provincial government for early constructions of roads and providing best communication facilities.–GH Farooqui