Culture of Kalash
The Kalash or Kalasha, are an ethnic group of the Hindu Kush mountain range, residing in the Chitral District of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan. They speak the Kalasha language, from the Dardic family of the Indo-Iranian languages, and are considered a unique tribe among the Indo-Aryan peoples of Pakistan. There is some controversy over what defines the ethnic characteristics of the Kalash. Although quite numerous before the 20th century, the non-Muslim minority has seen its numbers dwindle over the past century. A leader of the Kalash, Saifulla Jan, has stated, "If any Kalash converts to Islam, they can't live among us anymore. We keep our identity strong." About three thousand have converted to Islam or are descendants of converts yet still live nearby in the Kalash villages and maintain their language and many aspects of their ancient culture. By now, sheikhs, or converts to Islam, make up more than half of the total Kalasha-speaking population. The culture of Kalash people is unique and differs completely 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. Kalasha Desh (the three Kalash valleys) is made up of two distinct cultural areas, the valleys of Rumbur and Brumbret forming one and Birir valley the other, Birir valley being the more traditional of the two. Kalash mythology and folklore has been compared to that of ancient Greece, but they are much closer to Indo-Iranian (Vedic and pre-Zoroastrian) traditions. This can be explained as Hellenic,Vedic and even roman traditions have a common indo-European root. Some of the Kalash people in their own traditions claim to be descendants of Alexander the Great's soldiers, however, extensive genetic testing has shown no connection.The Kalash's...
References: http://chitral1.weebly.com/kalash-valley.html , March, 20 2013
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalash_people, June , 2012
http://www.tdcp.gop.pk/tdcp/EventsFunctions/KalashFestivals/tabid/649/Default.aspx, March, 20 2013
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