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Kalash Spring Festival, Pakistan
The Kalash people survive in three remote valleys in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province of Northern Pakistan. They probably wish that they didn’t! Their vibrant and thriving culture puts them completely at odds with neighbouring Muslim communities.
At the Joshi or spring festival, which falls in May, men and women circle the charso dancing ground, whilst elders sing tales of the past and the future of the Kalash. Much mulberry wine is drunk, and women and men are free to dance together: something which could result in death in neighbouring tribal areas. The festival culminates in a ritual where sprigs of leaves are waived and cast into the valley below.
The Kalash, who tend to have fair skin, trace their origins back to the soldiers of Alexander the Great, who passed near the region in 326 BC, although there is little evidence for this.