FUNERAL PROCESS OF KALASH PEOPLE

The other important feature of Kalash life is their practice of leaving their dead on a wooden coffin expose to cold and hot weather. With the passage of time the wooden coffin is ruined and disintegrated and remains of the skeleton of the dead present a horrible sight. After one year the relative of the dead fix wooden effigies of the persons and depicting the picture of their deads. This ceremony is done in pomp and show followed by feast. The dead man is placed in a stretcher made of bamboos. The dead bodies particularly of the ladies are given beauty touches. The relatives throw coins across the dead body as alms which is collected by large number of youngsters mostly poor following the funeral procession.

In uncertain weather conditions the dead body is shifted to their praying halls called “Jastak Han” which is named after one of their deities. The dead body is kept there for public glance for a day or two. Sometimes the dead body is washed and cleaned and is covered in a new clothes. Women are, however, treated differently. They are kept in the same clothes, which the women wear during the time of death. For women and children there is no singing and dancing.

If a women died during the course of delivery or during menstruation period in the Bashali her dead body will not be taken to her house instead it would be directly shifted to the cemetery. The coffins of dead women are kept in a corner of cemetery. For the old women enjoying respect in the society, the relatives consider it a privilege to give her all possible honour. The dead is dressed nicely and beauty touch is given to make her more attractive and graceful. Sometime artificial ornaments are also placed in her coffin. In the past, shoes with which she dances in her life time were also kept in her coffin.

The Kalash believe that soul of the dead visits the cemetery for four days and it was in this context the kalash often light small candle near the coffin in a wooden box. After one year a wooden statue is erected and is placed near the coffin in a ceremony. The idea of greeting the wooden mummy is to project the bravery of the dead man and his other good qualities.

 By Shahzadi.(38/10)

    

3 Responses to “FUNERAL PROCESS OF KALASH PEOPLE”

  1. Luke says:

    Kalash no longer seem to practice these rites.Majdokol or graveyards are now not used , except by Pakistani tourists who seem to have no respect for other cultures . Where once these sites had an order to them with large stones holding down the lids now everything is messed up . One youtube clip even shows Pakistanis picking up bones and one can see where others have smashed up things . While most customs are still followed the interment of the corpse is another story . Some seem to be left on carts but of this I know little . Likewise the errection of effigies (Gandeo) to the dead is also on the decline as theft and destuction (Islamic) has taken place. Kalash should fence there graveyards off and not allow tourists to destroy another part of there culture, they could even with all there cliffs start hanging there coffins on the valley wall thus removing them from tampering . Effigies would also be safe hung on the valley wall.

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