In the back country of Pakistan you will find a unique ancient tribe “The Kalash” They are one of the most isolation remarkable cultures in Pakistan. With a population of just over 3,000, they are an oasis of color and warmth in stark contrast to the seemingly inhospitable land that surrounds them. The Kalasha are an animist tribe descended from Alexander the Great’s armies, and they have maintained their ancient culture and tribal rites for well over 2,000 years. What makes them unique to most Pakistanis is the fact that many people in the tribe have blonde hair and blue eyes. The culture of the Kalash people is unique and differs completely from the various contemporary Islamic ethnic groups surrounding them in modern northwestern Subcontinent. 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 traditions. The Kalash have fascinated anthropologists due to their unique culture compared to the rest in that region. In contrast to the surrounding Pakistani culture, the Kalasha do not in general separate males and females or frown on contact between the sexes. However, menstruating girls and women are sent to live in the “bashaleni”, the village menstrual building, during their periods, until they regain their “purity”. They are also required to give birth in the bashaleni. There is also a ritual restoring “purity” to a woman after childbirth which must be performed before a woman can return to her husband. The husband is an active participant in this ritual.
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