Monday, May 19, 2008

Exotic & Mesmerizing Kalash....Simply Awesome

Tucked away in the mountains of northern Pakistan, the tiny Kalash minority celebrate the end of winter in May each year with the Joshi (spring) festival. It is a time to give thanks for the end of the harsh weather and to celebrate the arrival of the more productive spring months. Until recently the Kalash had no calendars or watches. They work out the festival dates by the position of the sun.

The Kalash culture has survived on farming lush valleys of northern Pakistan's Hindu Kush mountain range since it was founded by settling armies of Alexander the Great.

Historians still argue over the legitimacy of the Kalash's claim, from oral history, that they are the direct descendants of Alexander's generals. Nonetheless, many happily list similarities between Kalash and Greek culture including common deities, architectural details, music and fair skin.

Whenever i see the exotic beauty, culture and dresses i get mesmerized and wonder that in the midst of extremist north a secular culture still thrives with all its beauty.
What i like the most about Kalash is that unlike most of Pakistan, where even eye contact between unrelated men and women can be taboo, the Kalash express themselves freely. Children of both sexes play together and women breastfeed in public. The Kalash often complain that their behaviour is misinterpreted as a sign of sexual promiscuity.

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