Photos

Photographer's Note

This photo is the first of a little series about the Kalash valleys near Chitral, Pakistan. I've stayed there a couple of weeks back in 2007 and was lucky enough to attend the Joshi festivities, which are celebrations for welcoming spring. Here's a short introduction of this indigenous people who claim to be direct descendants of Alexander the Great:

Culture

The culture of Kalash people is unique and differs drastically from the various ethnic groups surrounding them. They are polytheists and nature plays a highly significant and spiritual role in their daily life. As part of their religious tradition, sacrifices are offered and festivals held to give thanks for the abundant resources of their three valleys. Much of their mythology and folklore are quite similar to those of ancient Greece and the Indo-Iranian traditions.


Customs

Kalash women usually wear long black robes, often embroidered with cowrie shells. For this reason, they are known in Chitral as "The Black Kafirs". Men have adopted the Pakistani shalwar kameez, while children wear small versions of adult clothing after the age of four.

The Kalash tribespeople are more liberal towards women, compared to their counterparts in Pakistan. However, their villages do have what is referred to as a 'bashaleni', a building constructed for temporary housing of menstruating girls and women and childbirth.

Marriage by elopement is rather frequent, also involving women who are already married to another man. Indeed, wife-elopement is counted as one of the "great customs" together with the main festivals.

Girls are usually married at an early age. If a woman wants to change husbands, she will write a letter to her prospective husband offering herself in marriage and informing the would-be groom how much her current husband paid for her. This is because the new husband must pay double if he wants her. For example, if the current husband paid one cow for her, then the new husband must pay two cows to the original husband if he wants her.


More information and of course photos will follow.

tchefi, SnapRJW has marked this note useful

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Stefan Kieser (skalian) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 11 W: 0 N: 15] (118)
  • Genre: People
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2007-00-00
  • Categories: Festivals
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2010-09-14 6:29
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Additional Photos by Stefan Kieser (skalian) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 11 W: 0 N: 15] (118)
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