CHITRAL-The Kalash community celebrated its annual colourful ‘Kalash Phool Festival’ with traditional zeal and fervour here on Wednesday.

The festival, which marks the harvest of grapes and walnuts, is one of the four festivals celebrated every year by the community.

People of the community adorn their heads with flower, sing songs in the local language, and perform traditional dances throughout the two-day festival.

Elderly women prepare traditional caps decorated with flowers, and put these colourful caps on the heads of the young girls who reach the age of 10 years. Men and youngsters fully take part in the celebrations.

After wearing caps made of roses and flowers, these youngest girls also participate in traditional dance and elderly women train them.

Tourists from across the country flock to the region to celebrate the festival. Organizing such kind of festivals aimed at attracting more tourists to the scenic valley as tourism is the only source of income for most of the population of Chitral.

In morning, Kalash people dance at lower dance house and their religious leaders called Qazi sing song. Women decorate their caps with 50, 100, 500, and 1000 rupee notes and consider it their dignity.

At afternoon, a boy picks the flowered cap from the head of a small girl and throws it to another one who picks it and run to the upper dancing place where Kalash people move and dancing together.

Some girls from Islamabad and other cities also participated in the dance and enthralled the spectators.

However, locals complained that dilapidated roads were the biggest problems in the region keeping the tourists away to visit the area. “The people from all over Pakistan want to visit Kalash valley to witness its festival, but broken roads keep them away,” said Saifullah, a local resident.

The federal government has promised to construct the road leading to Bamborat and Rambor, and locals hoped that tourists from all over the world will get the chance to witness the festivities if the government addresses the problems being faced by the people living in the region.

Tourists from China, USA, Scotland, UK, and other countries participated in the festival.

Kalash girls performing traditional dance during Phool festival.–Staff photo