Four festivals mark the highlights of the Kalash calendar. Zoshi, the spring festival, when girls pick the first flowers of the year, is held on May 14-15, it is celebrated with dancing, social visits and the exchange of milk and dairy products. Utchaw is observed from 23-24 Augut to mark the wheat and barley harvest, and involves song, dance and feasting. Phoo is autumn festival and is celebrated in mid-October to mark the grape and walnut harvest, while Chowmoz, from December 10-23, welcome the new year with feasting, drinking, dancing and sacrifice of goats.
Shandur Polo Festival
The world famous Shandur pass is about 3,738 meters above sea level and lies midway between Chitral and Gilgit. The distance from Chitral is 155 km and from Gilgit is 235 km approximately.
Shandur pass remains snow covered in winter and turns into green pastures during summer season. The Shandur Lake adds to the colours of plateau surrounded by high mountains. The famous Shandur Polo Tournament which has attained almost legendary status, is played here between Chitral and Gilgit teams every year from in the second week of July.
During the three day festival at Shandur, polo enthusiasts, mountain lovers, writers, photographers, mountain bikers, hikers (local and foreign tourists) converge to witness the spectacular polo matches between the finest teams of Gilgit and Chitral. Traditional dances and cultural music make the festival more attractive. The supporters of both sides travel long distances to watch this thrilling game and thus this event provides fascinating insight into the life style of the people of this region. All this put together makes Shandur Polo Festival one of the most entertaining events. There are no permanent hotels at Shandur Pass so if you are interested to attend Shandur Pass please bring your own tents and sleeping bags or book your accommodation in advance in one of the camping sites which are established here during the festival days. Food is available on various makeshift restaurants and food stalls during festival days.
This festival is held in August each year. It shows the cultural aspect of the Wakhi community of Boroghil who migrated to this part of Chitral in the early 20s. They have their own ways of life and sources of income from livestock and quick ripening crops and these people keep communication with Yasin and Ishkoman rather than Chitral.
In the festival polo matches, Buz kashi, races, and old form of sports , juvenile sports are shown to entertain visitors from other parts of the region around it plus some foreign tourists who are keen to seen that part of Pameer which is known as roof of the world with Kighiz culture.
Qaqlasht Festival is an old festival of the people of northern Chitral with a history of more than 2,000 years. Now days, Qaqlasht festival is celebrated in the month of April. Major Events of the festival includes traditional sports like Polo, and Matches of tug of war, Falcon prey, Race, Archery, local hockey, football and other activities like traditional cultural show, quiz competition, Mushaira, traditional food stalls, and paragliding.
It also features music of reed instrument and that of pure Chitrali sitar. Folk dance includes ‘chong
righishi’ and ‘tatali wawali’, and ‘mamashish’ which are at the verge of extinction. This festival is organized with the objective to protect the indigenous Kho culture and to highlight and market it as tourism product