PESHAWAR: The celebration of Chawmoss or Chitirmas festival is in full-swing and a number of foreign tourists are in the Kalash valley enjoying different festivities with the indigenous tribe.
French, Belgian and other foreign tourists on Wednesday, 12 December visited the Tourist Information Centre.
The centre in-charge Zarin Khan briefed the tourists about the religious, cultural, tourism and historical perspective of the Kalash valley and its inhabitants.
The Tourism Department has also started arranging lighting system, transport and other facilities so that local community and tourists could celebrate the festival in a befitting manner.
Khyber Pakhtunkhawa Senior Minister for Sports, Tourism, Archaeology, Museums, Culture and Youth Affairs Muhammad Atif Khan has issued directives to the quarters concerned to provide every facility to the locals and foreign tourists.
The senior minister has assured that provincial government would provide foolproof security, lighting and transportation to the tourists and local residents to celebrate the event in a peaceful atmosphere.
He has also announced Rs560 million for highlighting the Kalash culture to the world.
Beginning on December 7 and to be continued till 22th of the current month, the phase of bonfire competitions in the Chawmoss festival has already completed.
The children gathered at their sacred place, collected twigs and branches of pine trees and made bonfire to show skills in making high flames and smoke.
Making high flames and smoke is meant to welcome peace, prosperity, minerals, green grass and love among the people of the indigenous tribe in the ensuing winter and spring seasons.
The children while holding green leaves and branches of trees also sang songs and performed chorus to enjoy the festival.
Kalash is a small non-Muslim ethnic community in Chitral. The Kalash people are also found in Nuristan province of Afghanistan.
Kalash people, numbering only about 3,500 live in Ramboor, Bamburet and Birrir valleys in Chitral. They enjoy religious freedom and celebrate the Chawmoss and other festivals regularly.
Kalash people during the Chitirmas festival, which marks the end of the fieldwork and harvest, make their wishes for the New Year while dancing in chorus, dressed in colourful robes.
Kalash tribes sacrifice cattle mostly goats by pinning arrows in their necks. They neither meet nor shake hands with any visitors during that time.
After three days, they come out dancing and drinking wines together. Young Kalash boys and girls express their feelings for each other and announce their marriage.