Dress Of Kalash People

Kalash women are strikingly colorful in their unique customs. Their hair is plaited, both in front and back. On their heads they wear the shushut a small head –dress like a ring around the head with a long piece hanging down the back. On top of that the big head-dress or Kupas is worn for protection against the sun and for ceremonial occasions. Both head-dresses are heavily decorated with cowries, buttons, beads and brass. The decorations reflect the valley of origin and the status of the women. When a person dies the close female relatives wear the Kupas alone for the period of mourning. The black baggy dress is tied with a broad scarf, or Patti. Both used to be woven from home-spun wool. With the cash economy, cloths, borders and yarn from the shops have gained great popularity, allowing the women to be more colorful. For weaving a red Patti, however, the work is the same as before, because the synthetic knitting yarn still has to be spun before being woven. Huge numbers of glass bead necklaces cover the neck and beast of the women. They are only taken off altogether by a widow during periods of mourning.

Now-a-days the men wear the practical Shalwar Kameez suit, as well as Chitrali cap. During the cold winter decorated woolen leggings are commonly tied around the Shalwar. The traditional woolen pants are still used by some of the elders for ceremonial purposes, and are given to 4-6 year old boys for their initiation ceremony during the winter festival of Choomos. This is also when the small girls receive their first Kupas. The men used to wear wollen jackets or skin vests during the winter but now modern coats and jackets as well as Chitrali coats are taking over. The farmer traditional turbun is still used for a dead man and for small boys during their initiation ceremony. 

 By Shahzadi.(38/10)


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