PESHAWAR: The remote Kailash tribes of upper Chitral celebrated their winter festival — Chawmoss — with religious zeal. Children of the tribes collected twigs and branches of pine trees as they participated in bonfire and smoke competitions on Tuesday.
Some tourists are braving the freezing cold and snow to venture to the remote valleys to witness the festival.
The annual festival, which began late last week, is expected to continue until December 22, to coincide with the winter solstice.
The bonfire competitions, part of the annual celebrations see children pile twigs and branches at their sacred places and make a bonfire to display their skills in creating the highest flames and the most smoke.
The high flames and smoke are supposed to welcome peace, prosperity, minerals, green grass and love amongst the people of the indigenous tribe in the winter and spring seasons.
The children held green leaves and branches of trees while they also sang traditional songs and performed dances.
Local and foreign tourists have also come to the valley to see and enjoy the unique culture, traditions and religious rites.
While the summer harvest festival of Chillum Joshi is the most well-known and well-attended, the winter festival “Chawmoss” is the biggest festival of the year for the Kailash community.
The festival is celebrated for the divine, the living and dead relatives, crops and the goats to be safeguarded, while the community, the village and the valley are purified before the coming year.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 11th, 2019.