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Texts from the winter feasts of the Kalasha of Birir.


The author presents a collection of texts recorded in 2006-07 during the winter ritual cycle of the Kalasha of the Birir valley--in North-West Pakistan--who still practice an archaic form of polytheism with pre-Vedic roots. The fulcrum of the cycle is the Chaumos Winter Solstice Festival, bur a number of other festivities follow it at intervals forming a sequence almost two months long, lasting until February. The selection includes texts of songs, chants or prayers from each of these festivities. To allow the reader to relate them to the context in which they were recorded, the texts are accompanied by explanatory ethnographic notes. An introduction sketches the broader scene in which the research was carried out. The texts are in the Birir dialect of Kalashamon, the language of the Kalasha, a North-West-Indo-Aryan, or Dardic, language.

Keywords: Hindu Kush, Kafir, Kalasha, language, Pakistan, polytheism, religion, texts, New Year festival.


The objective of this article is to present a number of texts recorded by the author between December 2006 and early February 2007, during the winter ritual cycle of the Kalasha community of Birir, which culminates in the Chaumos Winter Solstice Festival. The Kalasha are a small minority group that lives in three valleys--Bumburet, Rumbur and Birir--located in the south of the district of Chitral, in the North-West-Frontier-Province of Pakistan. Numbering only a few thousands, they speak an Indo-Aryan language of the North-West-Indo-Aryan (Dardic) (Bashir 2003) group called Kalashamon (Morgenstieme 1973; Bashir 1988; Trail & Cooper 1999; Heegard 2006; Di Cario 2009), and they are the last polytheists of the Hindu Kush (1). Their religion is the last example of a multifarious constellation of archaic polytheisms that still at the beginning of the nineteenth century were widely practiced throughout the Hindu Kush/Karakorum chain, from present-day Afghan Nuristan to western Ladakh. In the two following centuries the advance of Islam, that had made inroads in the area since the sixteenth century, gradually brought about the conversion of these communities of mountaineers (2) with the sole exception of the three Kalasha communities who, though partially converted, still practice their traditional religion to this day.

The religion of the Kalasha has long attracted the attention of scholars not only because it is the only surviving shred of the pre-Islamic cultural fabric of the Hindu Kush, bur also because it is the only living example of what we may call a "tribal" Indo-European religion, that is a religious system practiced by speakers of an Indo-European language, which has not been absorbed by any one of the great historic systems, Buddhism, Hinduism, Christianity, Islam. Its roots hark back to pre-Vedic rimes. Morphologically it is a form of polytheism based on a pastoral ideology revolving around a pure/impure ('onjiSTa/pr'agata) polarity that attaches positive values, such as solidarity and harmony with wild nature, to the male sphere of goat-herding, as opposed to the female sphere of agriculture where individual interests and control over nature prevail. Its practice consists essentially in the celebration of the rites composing their complex ritual system. It is an orthopraxic rather than an orthodoxic religion (Bell 1997: 191-197); founded, that is, on the respect of a code of behaviour--mainly ritual--rather than on the adherence to a system of beliefs. (3)

As focus of the rich ritual cycle, the yearly festivals have been studied from the very beginning of ethnographic research among the Kalasha. Of these, the Joshy (zh'oshi) spring festival and the Chaumos (caum'os) winter solstice festival are the most important. (4) The former was documented by Morgenstierne already in 1929 and then by Schomberg and Siiger in 1935 and 1947 respectively, in Rumbur, and by Loude in 1978 in Bumburet (Schomberg 1938; Morgenstierne 1947; Siiger 1956: 24-26; Loude 1980: 79-90), while the latter was observed for the first time only in 1955 by the German ethnographers Adolf Friedrich and Peter Snoy in the Bumburet valley. The data on Chaumos remained however unavailable to scholars for twenty more years, until they were finally published (but only in German) by Karl Jettmar (1975) in his main work on the pre-Islamic religions of the Hindu Kush. Subsequently, no other researcher participated in a Kalasha winter solstice festival until 1973 when the present author took part in the Chaumos of the Rumbur valley together with Alberto Cacopardo and Manuela Borriello, and the Austrian Karl Wutt participated in the winter festival of Bumburet. The publication of this new data however was also delayed. It appeared only in the '80s (Wutt 1983; Cacopardo, A. S. 1985; Cacopardo & Cacopardo 1989), when a complete book focussed largely on the Rumbur Chaumos also appeared, authored by the French ethnographers Jean-Yves Loude and Viviane Lievre (1984) who had begun their fieldwork among the Kalasha in the late '70s. Lastly, a full account of his (and Friedrich's) 1955 observations in Bumburet has recently been published in English in the form of a long essay by Peter Snoy (2008). Thanks to these works we may say that the Chaumos of the two northern valleys is by now fairly well documented.

In contrast, no data at all was available on the winter festival of the southern valley of Birir, until the present author conducted his research there in the winter of 2006-07. The internal cultural variety of the Kalasha had been rather overlooked. Though it had long been quite clear that the southern valley of Birir presented many cultural peculiarities, no thorough study had been conducted of that community until 2006, so that its ritual system was largely unstudied and its main festivals still mostly undocumented. The investigation carried out on the Birir Chaumos showed that the peculiarities are quite remarkable, and that they concern not only single traits but, to some extent, the structure itself of the festival.

Both in Bumburet/Rumbur and in Birir, Chaumos is an extremely complex festival lasting many days and followed by other ritual events composing a sequence that continues well into January. An article on the Birir Chaumos, that includes a comparison with the festival of Bumburet/Rumbur, has already been published by the present author on this same journal (Cacopardo, A. S. 2008). (5) Since, however, only three texts could be included in that article for reasons of space, this second work has the specific purpose of making available to scholars--both anthropologists and linguists--a larger part of the corpus of prayers, songs, and invocations, that were recorded during the festival.

For all general aspects and for an overall description/ interpretation of the festival, I refer therefore the reader to my previous work, but to allow him to relate, here, the texts to the events in which they were generated, I offer a concise ethnographic comment and analysis of each text, as well as an outline of the whole winter ritual sequence where the main ritual activities are indicated for each day (see Appendix). Apart from making the texts more intelligible, these comments will also give me the opportunity to present some ethnographic data--especially about the January festivities following Chaumos--which could not be included in my former article. (6)

The Texts

The texts presented here are only a small part of those recorded, which amount to 28 hours and 29 minutes. A first transcription and rough translation of a part of the materials recorded was done in the field, with the help of a young Kalasha teacher, by the name of Baras Khan, who had a fair command of English, and of some other non-English-speaking middle-aged informants--Danok, Erfan (also known as Turap Khan) and Gulistan (also known as Nur Bek)--who were more knowledgeable as to the content of the texts. (7) The parsing and final interlinear translations were done in Italy with the support of the software Toolboxfor linguists, (8) I present here 17 texts. The majority are chants and songs, but there are also three recited prayers (texts nos. 2, 16, 17), two chanted prayers (texts nos. 10, 12) and one text of ritual insults (text no. 1).

As for the songs, in the Birir Chaumos we can distinguish two categories of songs/dances. There are songs/dances which are heard at all yearly festivals and at social celebrations--like funerals and merit feasts--as well, and there are songs and chants sung only for the winter festival. The first category consists of three genres of verbal art, ca~, d'ushak and drazha'ilak. (9) Of these, I have included only one example--a ca~--in the selection presented here. The other ten songs in the selection all belong to the second category, which includes songs that appear to stem from the female world, and were sung almost exclusively by the women. I have chosen to present mostly texts of women's songs because they are the ones more specific to Chaumos and are directly connected to the rituals. They may be quite ancient because they were qualified as b'aLuSa ghO~, 'old songs', and their lyrics appeared to be common knowledge.

In reading the texts, I advise the reader to note that the first two lines (both in Kalashamon and therefore in bold italics) are, respectively, the text and the morpheme break; the third and the fourth, the English glosses and the free translation. When a verse takes two lines, the sequence, save for the free translation, is doubled. For transcriptions and abbreviations see the note at the end of the article.

Text no. 1

The ritual insults transcribed below, were recorded on the evening of the third day of Chaumos called goST-s'araz (December 16th, 2006), during a torchlight procession from the surrounding hamlets to the temple of the village of Guru.

g'uruh'O~Ri zh'awi

g'uru h'O~Ri zh'aw -i

Guru.village inhabitants fuck -IMPV.2S

people of Guru, fuck you!

o zh'awi

o zh'aw -i

ah fuck -IMPV.2S

g'uruh 'O~Ri zh'awi

g'uru h'O-Ri zh 'aw -i

Guru.village inhabitants fuck -IMPV.2S

people of Guru, fuck you!

bar'u nora 'aa

bar'u nom -a -a

loud.noise name -IMPV.2P -RTM

let's cry out loud!

a zh'awi

a zh'aw -i

ah fuck -1MPV.2S

baSalit'ada moc zh'awi

baSalit'ada moc zh'aw -i

Bashalitada man fuck -IMPV.2S

people of Bashalitada, fuck you!

pr'enawiaw zh'awi

pr'enaw -iaw zh'aw -i

from.downstream -ADJ fuck -IMPV.2S

down-valley people, fuck you!

In its last part, the procession took the form of an assault on the temple with the crowd rushing up the hill, whistling and yelling. The insults were cried out mainly (though not exclusively) by the young virgin boys ('onjiSTa s'uda) and by the initiates; i.e. the 'pure' ones were insulting the adults, considered 'impure' because of their sexual contact with women. The insults were at times addressed also to individuals, and especially to respected ones. In a society, like that of the Kalasha, in which the hierarchical principle, apart from gender relations, applies only to the relations between the young and the elder, these insults representa reversal of roles that is quite typical of New Year celebrations. Such reversals have been seen as a ritual of separation (Van Gennep 1981: 98), in which ordinary social ties are modified and sometimes even severed. On this very day indeed the boys who are to be initiated begin to form a separate group that will isolate itself from the village community, together with those who are already initiated but are still virgin ('onjiSTa s'uda).

Text no. 2

As the torchlight procession streamed at a fast pace into the temple, a group of women, gathered under the porch, greeted the assailants with this chant:

t'ai Lucapat'a o sh 'aio

t'ai Lucapat'a -o sh 'ai -o

2S.GEN lighting.up -RTM REFRAIN -RTM

our light of man torches shaiooo

b'ira m'ari Dh'ou sh'aio

b 'ira mar -i Dh 'ou sh 'ai -o

he.goat sacrifice -PRF.P. heaping REFRAIN -RTM

the sacrifice of many he-goats, shahiooo

r'oZHas th'ara r'Ozho sh'aio

roZH -as thar roZH -o sh'ai -o

blessing -OBL on blessing -RTM REFRAIN -RTM

blessings upon blessings, shaiooooo

sh'aio t'ai Lucapat'a sh 'aio

sh'ai -o t'ai Lucapat'a sh 'ai -o


shaiooo, your light of many torches

sh'ia se caumo'os dewasam 'E~a

sh- 'ia se caumo'os dewasam'E~a

INT- PROX.S.NOM REM.S.NOM Chaumos celebration

this is the Chaumos celebration

With a slow, drawn out, melody sung in unison, the chant was hailing the arrival of the central part of the festival with the torchlight processions, the goat sacrifices, and the many blessings that the rites would bring. The term dewasam'E~a in the last verse--which my assistant translated as 'celebration'--is applied only to Chaumos and it implies, I was told, the idea of a descent of a god, a central theme of the winter solstice festival, as we shall see in the song that follows. A possible etymology of this term could be d'ewa (god)--saro 'E < samana, (l0) meeting, reunion: the meeting with the god.

Only women were chanting and no man joined in. I could not obtain any comment on the meaning of the refrain, which is possibly mere harmonizing sound without a referent.

Text no. 3

When the processions reached the temple greeted by the chant of the women gathered under the porch, inside the building the drums were beating and the dancing had already begun. The text transcribed here is only one of the many--the singing and dancing went on until 3 a.m. that were recorded that night. It is a ca~, a genre that is considered to be a dance (nat) rather than a song (ghO~). The rhythm is fast and joyful and the dancing prevails indeed over the singing. Of the three genres featured in all Kalasha celebrations, ca~ is the one that usually expresses the core theme of the event (Di Carlo 2007: 76).

tu ta o caum'os dewasam'E~a

tu ta o caum'os dewasam 'E~a

2S.NOM TOP O Chaumos celebration

du bas ajh'ona uchund'a

du bas ajh'ona uchund -a

two day guest descend -PST.A.2S

O Chaumos celebration for two days (now) have been our guest

m'ai t'asa tsh'atak jur'ukat (11)

m'ai t'asa tsh'atak jur'uk -a

lS.GEN REM.S.GEN young dear.little.girl -GEN.S.




my little girl will be initiated

m'ai shay'a Dandiagr'om s'uda tamash'a

m'ai sh- ay'a Dandiagr'om s'uda tamash'a

lS.GEN INT- here Guru.( child entertainment

it will be a feast for the children of my village of Guru

dewasam 'E~a h'awale

dewasam 'E~a h'aw -aw -e

celebration become.PST.A -PST.A.3S -RTM

m'ai neas'alak h'iu

m'ai neas'alak hi -u

1 S.GEN regret become -P/F.3 S

when the celebration will be over I shall be sorry

d'ewa 'ilo biramar'at

d'ewa 'iu -o b'ira -mar'at

god come.P/F.3S -RTM he.goat -sacrifice


kar -iu -o

make -P/F.3S -RTM

the god is coming man he- oats will be sacrificed

d'ewa 'ilo sh'ala jur'uka

d'ewa 'iu sh -ala jur'uk -a

god come.P/F.3S INT -DIST.ACC dear.little.girl -GEN

Sumber'osh band'alo

Sumber'osh band -au

first.celebration announce -P/F.3S

he announces the initiation of those dear little girls

d'ewa 'ilo sh'asa L'ui thum

d'ewa 'iu -o sh- 'asa L'ui thum

god come.P/F.3S -RTM INT- DIST.S.NOM blood smoke

zhe s'aras thum

zhe s'aras thum

and juniper smoke

the god is coming the scent of blood and of juniper (will rise as smoke from the sacrificial fires)

d'ewa 'ilo sh 'asa s'aras

d'ewa 'iu -o sh- 'asa s'aras

god come.P/F.3S -RTM INT- DIST.S.NOM juniper

gand'uryak 'dalo

gand'uryak d -au -o

scent give P/F.3S -RTM

the gods coming the scent of juniper is all around

d'ewa 'ilo sh'asa L'ui thum

d'ewa 'iu sh- 'asa L 'ui thum

god come.P/F.3S INT- DIST.S.NOM blood smoke

zhe s'aras thum

zhe s'aras thum

and juniper smoke

g'oSTay biramar'ato

goST -ay b'ira -mar'at

goatshed -ADJ goat. sacrifice

the god is coming clouds of juniper smoke are rising from the sacrificial fires bumin in the goat-sheds

The verses were not sung by a single singer, but were cried out in turns by six singers--all male--who formed in that moment the circle (magl'is) that in a Kalasha celebration directs the singing and the dancing, while the people around plunged themselves in the dance without paying them any attention. The text is composed largely of standard formulas. The first verse welcomes the feast, addressing it as if it were a person. The temporal reference is exact: it was indeed the third day of Chaumos. The other verses, like the women's chant of text no. 2, recall the main events of the festival, the initiations of the girls, the many animal sacrifices for the male initiation ceremonies, and evoke the joyful atmosphere of those days. From the point of view of its contents, the most interesting point of the song is the announcement of the arrival of a divine being; who remains however without a name. This, I was told, is a central point in the ideology of Chaumos. That this was the case in Birir as well came rather as a surprise, because the main structural difference between the Chaumos of Birir and that of the two northern valleys was known to be the absence of the cult of the god Balimain who is believed to arrive in Bumburet on a winged horse on the holiest night of the festival. The lyrics of this ca~ show instead that the idea of the descent of a divine being for the winter solstice is present in Birir as well, though it is not fully ritualized as is the case in the two northern valleys.

Text no. 4

The following day, the fourth of Chaumos, is called non-g rat. Since the initiation ceremonies that take place on the fifth day require three he-goats to be killed for each male novice, the sacrifices started already the day before. The meat of the animals sacrificed was going to be offered the following day in a banquet that took place after the ist'on~gas initiation rite (Cacopardo A. S. 2008: 90-91). The text below is a prayer that was uttered just before the throat of one of the sacrificial victims was slit by an 'onjiSTa suda, on the roof of a goat-shed belonging to the family ofone of the novices.

...ban k'ari o k'ushaLa sh'ura war'in

ban kar -i o k'ushala sh 'ura war'in

closed make -IMPV.2S O wise valiant Warin

b'ato p'iSTay sh'ura war'in

bat -o piST -ay sh 'ura war'in

stone -RTM crest -LOC valiant Warin

(initialwords lost) prevent O wise and valiant Warin; you, valiant Warin, who dwells among the rocks of the crest

sh'ia se dewasam 'E~a

sh- 'ia se dewasam 'E~a

INT -PROX.S.NOM REM.S.NOM celebration this is the celebration .(of Chaumos)

suw'ash kay aw'icas tu

suw'ash kay aw'ic -as tu

promptly? do.CP accept -P/F.2S 2S.NOM

k'ushala sh 'ura war'in

k'ushala sh 'ura war'in

wise valiant Warin

promptly accept (this offering) you wise and valiant Warin

khayr'i k'ari bato piSTay

khayr -i kar -i bat -o piST -ay

peace -ADJ make -IMPV.2S stone- RTM crest -LOC

sh'ura war'in

sh'ura war'in

valiant Warin

bring peace O valiant Warin of the rocky crest

kh'ayr zhaL'ai kim'on 'isa tazag'i

khayr zhaL -ai kim'on 'isa tazag'i

peace arrive -CP much PROX.2S.OBL health

k'ari ab'at k'ari

kar -i ab'at kar -i

make -IMPV.2S offspring make -IMPV.2S

give him (to the initiate) health and many children

sh'ala mi roS dy'ai

sh- 'ala -mi roZH dy -ai

INT- DIST.S.ACC -INT blessing put -IMP.2S

tu gh'ona sh'ufa war'in

tu gh'ona sh'ura war'in

2S.NOM great valiant Warin

give him your blessings, you great valiant Warin

pak Parwadig'ar k'ushaLa sh'ura war'in

pak parwadig'ar k'ushala sh'ura war'in

holy Creator.God wise valiant Warin

khod'aias dust 'asas

khod'ai -as dust 'as -as

God -GEN friend be -P/F.2S

you wise and valiant Warin, who are the friend of the holy Creator God

The prayer is addressed to Warin, one of the main gods of Birir. For Ralph Turner (T-444) the name Warin--war'indras in the genitive--is etymologically connected to *a-parendra (unrivalled Indra) and Morgenstierne (1973: 58) relates that one of his informants actually identified Warin with In, Indr. The epithet sh'ura (valiant), traditionally attributed to Warin, seems to indicate that his personality is that of a warrior god, who defends his people from their enemies; k'ushaLa (wise, ingenious), in contrast, is an epithet more frequently attributed to Mahandeo, another important Kalasha divinity who is believed to have taught them important techniques, like that of making cheese. Warin is invoked also as "Warin of the rocky crests" because his shrine, that appears to inspire a sort of 'sacred terror', is located high up on a crest overlooking the lower part of the valley. The requests made in the prayer are quite standard; only that they are made specifically for the novice. The lost initial word was probably a terra for sorrow or suffering. The god is asked to avert sorrow from him and to give him peace, health and many children. The last verse is particularly interesting because it shows the evolution undergone by Kalasha polytheism as a consequence of its multi-centennial contact with Islam: as I have discussed more in detail elsewhere (cf. Cacopardo, A. S. 2006: 147-151), a conciliatory version of the traditional religion has probably long prevailed among the Kalasha, which identifies the ancient Creator God Dizala Dezaw (D'iziLa Diz'aw) with the God of Islam. In the light of this reinterpretation the other deities of the traditional pantheon are conceived more as messengers and carriers of wishes to God than divinities in their own right (cf. Saifullah Jan 1996: 240). Yet, the image of the divinity conveyed in the prayer is that of a full-size god able to grant wishes and bestow favour in the circumstances of life; it is only in the last verse that the conciliatory version surfaces with the quite overt statement that Warin's powers are due in the end to his special relation to God.

Text no. 5

The fifth day of Chaumos (ist'on~gas rat) is the day of initiations. For male novices, as soon as the rite is performed (Cacopardo, A. S. 2008: 90), a period of seclusion begins that is to last 48 hours, until the last day of the festival. The seclusion consists in the boys being confined in the area of the goat-sheds, which are located above the villages in the holly-oak forest. In the pastoral ideology of the Kalasha, the whole activity of goat-herding and the places where it is conducted are 'onjiSTa and hence forbidden to women, who have no access to the area of goat-sheds and to the pastures. The song transcribed below recalls the ritual activities carried out by the novices and their peers (the prabal'on g'Uak) during their seclusion, with a reference to the hardships they have to go through. It was recorded on the sixth day (koT SaT'ek) of Chaumos--December 19th, in 2006--on the gri dancing ground, from a group of women.

t'ai Law'ak iSk'ar prabal'on g'Uakan

t'ai Law'ak iSk'ar prabal'on g'Uak -an

2S.GEN fox hunting Praba child -P.DIR

your fox hun,t Praba boys

s'aTuk zhe kuS'urek ciSTuni'aka zhus

s'aTuk zhe kuS'urek ciSTuni'aka zhu -s

apple-mash and bread standing? eat -P/F.2S

you cannot sit down to eat your bread and apple-mash

t'ai pr'ai iCh'oae

t'ai pr -ai iCh'oa -e

2S.GEN give.PST.A -PRF.P hind.leg -RTM

nat prabal'on g'Uakan

nat prabal'on g'Uak -an

dance Praba child -P.DIR

your dance of the grazing goats, O Praba boys

s'aTuk zhe kuS'urek ciSTuni'aka zhus

s'aTuk zhe kuS'urek ciSTuni'aka zhu -s

apple-mash and bread standing? eat -P/F.2S

you cannot sit down to eat your bread and apple-mash

gh'ora r'eZHai bas prabal'on g'Uakan

gh'ora reZH -ai bas prabal'on g'Uak -an

white trail -LOC spend.night Praba child -P.DIR

you spend the night on the white trail, O Praba boys

s'aTuk zhe kuS'urek ciSTuni'aka zhus

s'aTuk zhe kuS'urek ciSTuni'aka zhu -s

apple-mash and bread standing? eat -P/F.2S

you cannot sit down to eat your bread and apple-mash

t'ai cAh'aka Dh'ou prabal'on g'Uakan

t'ai cAh'aka Dh'ou prabal'on g'Uak -an

2S.GEN thick.bread heaping Praba child -P.DIR

your thick bread cake, O Praba boys

s'aTuk zhe kuS'urek ciSTuni'aka zhus

s'aTuk zhe kuS'urek ciSTuni'aka zhu -s

apple-mash and bread standing? eat -P/F.2S

you cannot sit down to eat your bread and apple-mash

ek ta birb'o eko juwar'i

ek ta birb'o ek -o juwar'i

one CORR walnut one -CORR corn

gE~'ak prabal'on g'Uakan

gE~'ak prabal'on g'Uak -an

cob Praba child -P.DIR

a walnut and a corn-cob, Praba boys

sanab'aci kay zhu gazhag'azhi kay zhu

sanab'a~ci kay zhu gazhag'azhi kay zhu

corn.mash do.CP eat walnut.butter do.CP eat:IMPV.2S

you eat bean mash and walnut butter

The prabal'on g'Uak, the boys of the god Praba, form as a group already on the day of goST-s'araz, the third day of Chaumos--when, as we have seen, they animate the torchlight procession with their crude insults against adults--and they conduct an extorsive ritual begging the following day to collect the grains to make bread during their seclusion. The verses of the song, as mentioned, celebrate their main ritual activities. The fox hunt of the first verse takes place on the day of koT SaT'ek: the prabal'on g'Uak, always keeping to the 'onjiSTa area of the goat-sheds, made the round of a mound overlooking the dancing ground yelling and raising a great commotion to chase away an invisible fox. The meaning of the ritual is somewhat obscure. Since the fox is an animal connected to the sexual sphere, (12) it is probably taken as the symbol of the impurity that must be evicted from the 'onjiSTa area. The dance of the grazing goats of the second verse is a dance that the novices perform that same day in front of the whole male community, imitating the movements of the goats when they rise on their hind legs to graze from the lower branches of the holly-oak trees. The 'white trail' of the third verse is the trail the prabal'on g'Uak follow during the second night of their seclusion to reach the shrine of Praba where the most sacred sacrifice of the year--a holocaust--is celebrated at the break of dawn. It is called the 'white trail' because the boys reach the altar just when the white light of dawn begins to shine on the valley. The thick bread cake of the following verse is an offering they bring to the altar, which is called indr h'arik, to be brought to Indra. Also behind the god Praba, as we have seen is the case with Warin, looms indeed the figure of Indra; his name can be derived from pravabhra, a name of Indra found in the Maitrayani Samhita (T-8782). The refrain seems to refer to the hardships the prabal'on g'Uak have to go through. Informants were not sure of its exact meaning. They suggested that the boys could not sit down to eat because the goat-sheds sheltering them were too crowded or because the ground near the altar was covered with snow. The last two verses mention the food the boys eat during the seclusion, which apparently has to be mashed. Could that symbolize a baby-like status after the rebirth brought about by the initiation? It may be, though none of my assistants gave this explanation.

Text no. 6

After the prabal'on g'Uak have reached the shrine of Praba following the 'white trail', and the holocaust has been performed at the first lights, in the following morning the whole community slowly gathers on the main dancing ground, located more or less at the centre of the valley, not far from Praba's altar. Now all activities are carried out in broad daylight. It is the sixth day of Chaumos, one of the holiest, called koT SaT'ek, from its main ritual event. This is a race between runners of the two moieties that ends with the lighting up by the winner of a stack of brushwood piled up at Praba's shrine (Cacopardo, A. S. 2008: 94-95); but, as the text above relates, many other ritual activities are performed. While the men are busy with these, the women sing on the main dancing ground, just nearby. They are not allowed to watch the race nor any of the other rituals, because they take place in 'onjiSTa territory. The following song--like the preceding one--was recorded that day on the gri dancing ground.

pilinsh'oa jeST'alas pilinsh'oa

pilinsh'o -a jeST'ali -as pilinsh'o -a

Pilinsho GEN -POSS.3.S Pilinsho GEN


jeST'ali -as -POSS.3.S

Pilinsho's mother-in-law, Pilinsho's mother-in-law

'indras k'o Tuna par'a kakaw'a~k

indr -as koT -una par -a kakaw'a~k

Indra -GEN tower -LOC go -PST.A.2S chicken

m'ari m'ai des

mar -i m 'ai d -es

kill -CP 1S.DAT give -P/F.2S

went to Indra's castle, you kill a chicken and offer it to me

'ala k'ya k'arim day

'ala k'ya kar -im d'ay

DIST.S.ACC what do -P/F.1S P/F.CONT

c'uri mes m'ari m'ai de

c'uri meS mar -i m'ai de

braid ram kill - -CP 1S.OBL give.IMPV.2S

of what use is that to me? slaughter a braid-ram and give it to me

k'ayo m'ai b'ata h'ile

k'ay -o m'ai bata h'i -u

when RTM 1S.OBL OPP become -P/F.3S

ao t'ai b'ata dem

a -o t'ai bata d -em

1S.NOM -CORR 2S.OBL OPP give -P/F.1S

when it becomes mine, I will give it to you

Like text no. 5, this is a Chaumos song and a women's song, as indicated also by the mention of the 'braid-ram' which is the animal offered for the initiation of a girl when, as she dons the female headdress, her hair is braided for the first time. According to Jettmar (1975: 356) indr'as koT is the place where a fire is lit at the indr'eyn shrine in Bumburet, to welcome the visiting god Balimain. (13) In fact, it is more likely that the expression refers to the pile of wood which is lit, rather than to the place where it is lit. In Birir 'indras koT could be considered the two piles of brushwood held each by four poles, representing the two moieties, which stand by Praba's altar on the day of the race, ready to be lit by the runners. The song, like other Chaumos songs, is sung also in Bumburet and Rumbur. (14) It is a jokingly ironic chant, sung at a lively rhythm, teasing those who give the worst of what they have: chicken are impure for the Kalasha and their meat is forbidden, while the meat of the 'braid-ram', the initiation ram, for a woman is the purest of all. The last verse, however, is of capital importance because it states most explicitly the principle of reciprocity on which Kalasha society is ideologically based, with an expression that reminds closely the Maori proverb reported by Mauss at the end of his famous Essai sur le don (Mauss 1965: 277). (15)

Text no. 7

In the songs sung by the women at Chaumos we may distinguish two genres. Some, like the preceding ones, celebrate the event. Others, which are called Lac ghO~ (shameful songs), have a crude sexual content and make use of a language considered shameful in ordinary female speech. The text presented here is an example of this second genre. It was recorded on the gri dancing ground the evening of December 19th, the day of koT SaT'ek.

shenm'aluk b'itsaay g'ehenraw

shenm'aluk b'itsa -ay geh'en r'aw

bed.end gap -LOC side as

bhut aS th 'ara j'ai

bhut aS thar j -ai

trousers shoulder on put -CP

falling sideways in the gap at the end of the bed with his trousers thrown across his shoulder

s'enjilai bh 'utas k'ay she~h'e~

send j -ila -i bhut -as k'ay she~h'e~

sitie put -PERF.P. -RTM trousers -OBL by thus

m'atrila se pe ne 'aLa

matr -ila se pe ne 'aLa


having put this trousers by the side, (16) he told her:

tu mi se tu'ai prej'ey

tu -mi se tu'ai prej'ey

2S.NOM -INT REM.S.NOM 1S.GEN w.sister

you yourself will wife's sister

t'ai burbul'unguna ang'ar SaT'em

t'ai burbul'ung -una ang'ar SaT -em

2S.GEN scrotum -in fire light -P/F.1S

d'ui b'ata p'ariu

du -i bata par -iu

burn -CP OPP go -P/F.3S

I will set your pubic hair on fire and I will burn it all!

jeST'ali gho~ taL 'ey

jeST'ali gho~ taL -ey

w.mother say REM -OBL

prej'ey gher'ai las'ai

prej'ey gher -ai las -ai

w.sister turn -CP leave -IMP.2S

said the mother of the wife and forget all about this wife's sister business!

con~g zhe uSp'ung badh'ai istr'izha goc

con~g zhe uSp'ung badh -ai istr'izha goc

beard and moustache shave -CP woman search

gaL 'a rukm'u zhe mamur'et

g'aLa rukm'u zhe mamur'et

go.PST.HRS Rumbur and Bumburet

then he shaved his beard, trimmed his moustache, and went to look for a woman in Rumbur and Bumburet.

The song makes fun of a man who is trying to make a pass at his mother-in-law demanding she make up for the refusal of her daughter; but since sexual relations of this type are considered incestuous, the man tells her that she will be for him like a sister-in-law, with whom sexual relations, though deemed illegitimate, are not tabooed. The woman rejects him and pushes him to the end of the bed where the ropes holding the mattress are further apart, to the point that the pursuer falls through them with one of his legs and remains there half naked with his trousers thrown across his shoulders. The woman, further, threatens to set on fire the hair of his scrotum and makes clear that he better forget about that exchange. The threat is apparently effective, because the man trims his moustache and beard and goes to look for a woman in the other two valleys. The scene is less improbable than it may appear to a western eye, because, since Kalasha girls are often already married in their very early teens to men quite a bit older, a mother-in-law may be still a young woman, possibly even not older than her son-in-law.

Text no. 8

The text below is another example of Lac ghO~ recorded on the same day and from the same group of women as the preceding one.

Sung Sungaw day m'ai kay ishl'agan

Sung Sung -aw d'ay tu'ai kay ishl'ak -an

comer from -VIA 1S.OBL to shell -P.DIR


ty -en

throw -P/F.3P

hiding behind a corner they throw nutshells at me

tu'ai p'io k'ya kh'ojis baS'ara con~g cu'ai

tu'ai pi -o k'ya khoj -is baS'ara con~g cu -ai

1S.OBL flora -RTM what seek -P/F.2S old beard shake-PP

what do you want from me old shaking beard?

eil'a ol'a t'aisom c'ilu m'alu sh'iaw

eil'a ol'a t'ai -som c'ilu m'alu shi -aw

RTM RTM 2S.OBL--with hookah ECO be.INAN PST.A.3S

you have a hookah and all the rest

te tambak'u khaS'an

te tambak'u khaS -an

REM.P.NOM tobacco apply -PST.A.3P

tobacco into it

'ia sh'arum tr'eyla gh'o~ n

'ia sh'arum tr'eyla gho~ -n

PROX.S.NOM sexual.organ coarse say -P/F.3P

this sexual or an is coarse, they say

istrizh'on som mo pras'ua

istr'izha -on som mo prasu -a

woman -P.OBL -with NEG sleep -IMP.2P

do not sleep with women

t'ai aC'una wA tri'iu

t'ai 'aCuna wA tri -iu

2S.GEN dried.up scrotum splil -P/F.3S

your shrivelled scrotum will split

We have here another ironic scene in which a woman teases poignantly an older man who tries to flirt with her in a childish way, throwing nutshells at her from behind a comer. The pipe and the tobacco are probably sexual allusions. The sexual organs, at any rate, are explicitly named in the subsequent verses in which the girl accuses the man of having an exceedingly coarse organ and urges him to forget about women because his shrivelled scrotum would split. As in the preceding song, the woman rejects the man who is ridiculed in his virility.

In both texts the male-female opposition comes to the fore. This is one of the central themes of Chaumos. While the prabal'on g'Uak are in seclusion in the area of the goat-sheds, the women appear to take the lead in the ritual activities carried out in the villages. It seems to be their task, especially, to stimulate the energy of reproduction with the shameful songs. (17) The obscene is one of the key dimensions of Chaumos in Rumbur and Bumburet (cf. Loude & Lievre 1984: 214, 272, 282-285, 287, 289, 293-294; Snoy 2008: 50; Wutt 1983) where often improvised 'shameful songs' are sung in unison in true chanting contests between opposing parties of men and women, mainly instigated by the latter. In Birir these songs were sung only by women in unison, with no rival dancing party of men, and the verses were not improvised: they were old songs, I was told. (18) Chanting contests--with the two parties addressing each other as mai b'aya ko, "my dear brother" or mai baba ko, "my dear sister"--did take place that same day especially on the way to the dancing ground, but their verses were more of a romantic than a crudely sexual nature. In the Chaumos of Birir, the obscene in general seems in fact to have a less prominent role than it has in the festivals of the two northern valleys. Maybe because it is the central theme of another celebration--the Prun festival which does not exist in the other two valleys--or, more likely, because of the higher number of converts in Birir, and of the absence of the period of diC--a sort of 'village cloistering'--when, in Bumburet and Rumbur, the Muslims are physically banned from Kalasha villages.

Text no. 9

This song belongs like the preceding ones to the repertoire of women, but here the singer is a mother, not a pursued sexual partner like in the shameful songs. Like the last four texts presented, the song was recorded on the gri dancing ground, from the same group of women.

goST d'uruna par'a

goST dur -una par -a

goat.shed house -in go -PST.A.2S

goST d'uruna par'a

goST dur -una par -a

goat.shed house -in go -PST.A.2S you went to the goat-shed, you went to the goat-shed

khe~ h'iu se m'ai butr'uk

khe~ hi -u se m'ai butr'uk

how become -P/F.3S REM.S.NOM IS.GEN child how is he doing, my baby?

ne khe~ h'iu m'ai butr'uk

ne khe~ hi -u m'ai butr'uk

RTM how become P/F.3S 1S.GEN child is he doing well or not my baby?

shas'e capacunD'aLi

sh- se capacunD'aLi

INT- that.REM.S.NOM prickling maybe his legs are prickling

shas'e pat pat uST'ali

sha- se pat pat uST -ali

INT- REM.S.NOM quickly quickly get.up -PST.A.2P he has to get up in a rush

It is the song of a mother who worries for the hardships her 'baby' will encounter as a novice, during the seclusion in the area of the goat-sheds. "Is he doing fine? Will he be uncomfortable? Will he get cramps?" asks the preoccupied mother. The text shows that for the novices the days of seclusion are an initiatory trial. A trial consisting in the almost sleepless nights in the crowded goat-sheds, in the sudden risings, in the arduous mountain trail that the boys have to negotiate in the dark with the only light of their pine torches. Not a trial requiring the endurance of strong physical pain, as is the case in other contexts, but still a trial for children aged no more than ten.

Text no. 10

This song is sung on the seventh and last day of Chaumos, the feast of the beans (dA'u tat'u), by groups of young girls who, separately in each village, make the round of all the houses begging for beans. Since the ritual begging took place in the afternoon when the dances were still going on in the temple of Aspar village, I only caught a glimpse of the last part of the ceremony and could not record their singing. The words of their song were dictated to me the next day by the wife of my host.

dA'u bi gri tru'aio

dA'u bi gri tru -'a -i -o

beans seed with grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make beans and their seed grow

sharal'a tru'aio

sh'ara -la tru -'a -i -o

markhor -ENDM grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make the markhor increase

rashm'uk bi gri tru'aio

rashm'uk bi gri tru -'a -i -o

speckled.bean seed with grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make speckled beans and their seed increase

sharal'a tru'aio

sh'ara -la tru -'a -i -o

markhor -ENDM grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make the markhor increase

im'o bi gri tru'aio

im'o bi gri tru -'a -i -o

imo.beans seed with grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make imo-beans with their seeds increase

sharal'a tru'aio

sh'ara -la tru -'a -i -o

markhor -ENDM grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make the markhor increase

goraL'a bi gri tru 'aio

goraL'a bi gri tru -'a -i -o

white.lentils seed with grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make white lentils and their seeds increase

sharal'a tru'aio

sh'ara -la tru -'a -i -o

markhor -ENDM grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make the markhor increase

p'ay bi gri tru 'aio

p'ay bi gri tru -'a -i -o

she.goat seed with grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make goats and their seed increase

sharal'a tru'aio

sh'ara -la tru -'a -i -o

markhor-ENDM grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make the markhor increase

baty'a bi gri tru'aio

baty'a bi gri tru -'a -i -o

goat.kid seed with grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make goat-kids and their seed increase

sharal'a tru'aio

sh'ara -la tru -'a -i -o

markhor-ENDM grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make the markhor increase

dond'iki bi gri tru'aio

dond' -ik -i bi gri tru -'a -i -o

ox DMN -RTM seed with grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S-RTM make oxen and their seed increase

sharal'a tru'aio

sh'ara -la tru -'a -i -o

markhor -ENDM grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make the markhor increase

baCh'Oaka bi gri tru'aio

baCh'Oa -k -a bi gri tru -'a -i -o

calf -DMN -RTM seed with grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S-RTM make calves and their seed increase

sharal'a tru'aio

sh'ara -la tru -'a -i -o

markhor -ENDM grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make the markhor increase

jamilish'ir gri tru'aio

jam'ili sh'ir gri tru -'a -i -o

female.lineage. kin with grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make female kin increase

sharal'a tru 'aio

sh'ara -la tru -'a -i -o

markhor-ENDM grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make the markhor increase

graur'i gri tru'aio

graur'i gri tru -'a -i -o

men with grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make male kin increase

sharal'a tru'aio

sh'ara -la tru -'a -i -o

markhor -ENDM grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make the markhor increase

moc kuw'at gri tru'aio

moc kuw'at gri tru -'a -i -o

men strength with grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make virile strength increase

sharal'a tru'aio

sh'ara -la tru -'a -i -o

markhor-ENDM grow -CAUS -IMPV.2S -RTM make the markhor increase

Reproduction and fertility are the manifest themes of the chant. The last verse invokes abundance of male energy, without which there can be no generation, while the other verses invoke abundance of everything: of the fruits of the earth, of animals, of offspring. They ask especially for abundance of all types of beans and lentils for the fact, we can surmise, that pulses are the main food in the winter. (19) The refrain, that invokes the multiplication of the markhor (capra falconeri), seems to testify to the past importance of the meat of these wild goats in the diet of the Kalasha, (20) as well as to their significance as symbols of abundance (cf. Lievre & Loude 1990: 48). In winter, as they migrate to lower altitudes they become an easier prey for hunters.

The text does not mention the name of any god, but the fact that in all verses the verb is in the second person of the imperative indicates that the chant must be implicitly addressed to some divinity. The most appropriate addressee of such requests would no doubt be Jeshtak (j'eSTak), the goddess presiding over family relations and reproduction, who is invoked with very similar verses in the dA'u tat'u of Rumbur (Loude & Lievre 1984: 302-310). The song is repeated by the girls on the doorsteps of each house and it has essentially a well-wishing function: to each family they wish abundance of everything. It is significant, we may note, that the prayer for fertility is chanted by young girls who are the most apt to impersonate the idea of a budding seed.

Text no. 11

This song I recorded from the voices of a group of little girls who were playfully singing and dancing in the temple on the night of dA'u tat'u. The pulses collected in the afternoon had been brought there for a communal cooking and were boiling in two large aluminium pots set on two lively fires lit under the wooden porch of the building. The party seemed to be only for youngsters and adults would only occasionally peep in. The beans cooked all night and were distributed to all the families in the village the following morning.

cid'inik t'ai buny'ate gak Sing'Oyak

cid'in -ik t'ai buny'at -e gak Sing'Oyak

iron.pot -DMN 2S.GEN bribe -RTM cow hornlet you want to bribe me with an iron pot, oh Gakshinogyak

m'ai chu t'ai ja ne d'eme

m'ai ch'ul t'ai ja ne d -em -e

1S.GEN daughter 2S.OBL wife NEG give -P/F.1S -RTM

gak Sing'Oyak

gak Sing'Oyak

cow hornlet

but I shall not give you my daughter as a spouse, oh Gakshingoyak

i'donik t'ai buny'ate gak Sing'Oyak

i'don -ik t'ai buny'at -e gak Sing'Oyak

tripod -DMN 2S.GEN bribe -RTM cow hornlet you want to bribe me with an iron tripod, oh Gakshingoyak

m'ai chu t'ai ja ne d'eme

m'ai ch'ul t'ai ja ne d -em -e

1S.GEN daughter 2S.OBL wife NEG give -P/F.1S -RTM

gak Sing'Oyak

gak Sing'Oyak

cow hornlet

but I shall not give you my daughter as a spouse, oh Gakshingoyak

aZH'aRik t'ai buny'ate gak Sing'Oyak

aZH'aRi -ik t'ai buny'at -e gak Sing'Oyak

apricot -DMN 2S.GEN bribe -RTM cow hornlet you try to bribe me with apricots, oh Gakshingoyak

m'ai chu t'ai ja ne d'eme

m'ai ch'ul t'ai ja ne d -em -e

1S.GEN daughter 2S.OBL wife NEG give -P/F.1S-RTM

gak Sing'Oyak

gak Sing'Oyak

cow hornlet

but I shall not give you my daughter as a spouse oh Gakshingovak

The lyrics of the song are an apparent expression of female solidarity. The issue is that of a woman's role in the choice of her husband. Marriage among the Kalasha (Maggi 2001: 167-212) is traditionally organized by the father when the girl is still a child, in response to proposals coming from the family of the prospective groom. As text no.15 also testifies, Kalasha girls sometimes accuse their fathers of "having sold them" when they do not like the choice be made for them: (21) the iron tripods and the vessels for cheese-making mentioned in the verses, are the objects traditionally composing the mal, the bride-price. In the song we hear the voice of a mother who is trying to protect her daughter. The name gakshing'oiak is probably a derogatory nick-name for an unwelcome aspirant; literally it means "little cow horn", a clear phallic allusion. The woman addresses him saying that if he thinks he can bribe her with his gifts, he is mistaken. She will never let him marry her daughter. The song expresses thus the plight of Kalasha girls when they are given in marriage to men much older than they are, who take them away from their homes and friends when they are still in their childhood. (22)

Text no. 12

This text was recorded between 4:00 and 5:00 a.m. of January 6th 2007. It is a prayer (suw'al)--not a song (ghO~), I was told--that was chanted by a group of women, one for each household, gathered around a fire in the temple of Guru village. It is part of a ritual that takes place for Lagaur, a festival that follows Chaumos after a couple of weeks and is connected to it. It includes some ceremonies that in the two northern valleys are considered an integral part of Chaumos. Lagaur lasts altogether ten days bur it is not as intense as the winter solstice feast: in the first two days the only ritual activity is a special meal consumed in the evenings, while the last six (23) concern only children who dance and imitate the ritual activities of Chaumos. It has an explicit pedagogic character: "we teach them to play the drums," I was told, "so that they will not become Muslims." After participating in Chaumos mostly as spectators, children are given the opportunity to be the actors without any adult supervision. A practice of peer- education, it would seem.

The nocturnal chant in the temple is maybe the core event of the two central days of Lagaur. The day before, animal figurines of dough are made in the homes to ensure the reproduction of useful animals, while young girls sing to call the White Crow and fetch green branches to decorate the temples. The White Crow is a supernatural being, bringer of wealth and fertility, who visits the Kalasha at this time. The prayer recorded that night was addressed to him.

ab'atani ab'at k'ario i

ab'at -ani ab'at kar -i -o i

prolific -ADJ offspring make -IMPV.2S -RTM come.IMPV.2S

o kagarik'o

o kag'a -rik -o

O crow -DMN -RTM

make us prolific with offspring, come O little crow

kosh'anas th'ara koshan'i pash'ai i

kosh'an -as thar koshan'i pash -ai i

happy -OBL on happiness see -CAUS.IMPV.2S come.IMPV.2S

o kagarik'o

o kag'a -rik -o

O crow -DMN -RTM

show us happiness upon happiness come O little crow

khayr'i k'ario i

khayr -i kar -i -o i

well.being -ADJ make -IMPV.2S -RTM come.IMPV.2S

o kagarik'o

o kag'a -rik -o

O crow -DMN -RTM

give us well being, come O little crow

b'ira mar'at k'ari -o i

b'ira mar'at kar -i -o i

he.goat sacrifice make -IMPV.2S -RTM come.IMPV.2S

o kagarik'o

o kag'a -rik -o

O crow -DMN -RTM

bring he-goat sacrifices, come O little crow

bagannoR'ik baz'uriak tren k'ario

bagannoR'ik baz'uri -ak tren kar -i -o

village.epithet sleeve -ENDM? line make -IMPV.2S -RTM

i o kagarik'o

i o kag'a -rik -o

come.IMPV.2S O crow -DMN-RTM

make the population of our village numerous, come O little crow

h'u Tali i'don 'onio i

h'uTali i'don on -i -o i

high iron.tripod bring -IMPV.2S -RTM come.IMPV.2S

o kagarik 'o

o kag'a -rik -o

O crow -DMN -RTM

bring high iron tripods, come O little crow

m'ai moc kuw'at k'ario i

m'ai moc kuw'at kar -i -o i

1S.OBL man strength make -1MPV.2S-RTM come.IMPV.2S

o kagarik'o

o kag'a -rik -o

O crow -DMN -RTM

give me male energy, come O little crow

m'ai bab'aa p'utras k'asik

m'ai b'aba -a putr -as kas -ik

1S.GEN sister -GEN.S son -POSS.3.S walk -INF

ne bha'au day i o kag'ariko

ne bha -au d'ay i o kaga -rik -o

NEG -P/F.3S P/F come.IMPV.2S O crow -DMNRTM

my sister's son is not able to walk, come O little crow

Choro'ik-o d'esha k'ario

Chom'ik -o d'esha kar -i -o

pain -RTM far make -IMPV.2S -RTM

i o kagarik'o

i o kag'a -rik -o

come.IMPV.2S O crow -DMN -RTM

keep pain away from us, come O little crow

tazag'i k'ario i

tazag'i kar -i -o i

health make -IMPV.2S -RTM come.IMPV.2S

o kagarik'o

o kag'a -rik -o

O crow -DMN -RTM

bring come O little crow

aLL'ah p'akas kay suw'al k'ari

aLL'ah pak -as kay suw'al kar -i

Allah holy -OBL to prayer make -IMPV.2S

i o kagarik'o

i o kag'a -rik -o

come.IMPV.2S O crow -DMN -RTM

pray Allah for us, come O little crow

pr'enaw zho bi 'onio

pr'enaw zho bi on -i -o

downstream barley seed bring -IMPV.2S -RTM

i o kagarik'o

i o kag'a -rik -o

come.IMPV.2S O crow -DMN -RTM

from downstream bring the seed of barley, come O little crow

bo kay mocb'i hal'io i

bo kay mocb'i hal -i -o i

a.lot do.CP people bring.AN -IMPV.2S -RTM come.IMPV.2S

o kagarik 'o

o kag'a -rik -o

O crow -DMN -RTM

increase our population, come O little crow

perishan'i d'esha k'ario i

perishan'i d'esha kar -i -o i

anxiety far make -IMPV.2S -RTM come.IMPV.2S

o kagarik'o

o kag'a -rik -o

O crow -DMN -RTM

keep anxiety away from us come O little crow

manj'aro dr'iga k'ario i

manj'ar -o dr'iga kar -i -o i

life -RTM long make -IMPV.2S -RTM come.IMPV.2S

o kagarik'o

o kag'a -rik -o

O crow -DMN -RTM

make our life long, come O little crow

pili'aw pruST k'ario i

pili'aw pruST kar -i -o i

offspring good make -IMPV.2S -RTM come.IMPV.2S

o kagarik'o

okag'a -rik -o

O crow -DMN -RTM

make our children children good, come O little crow

h'oma sh'asa b'aya Sumb'er day putr

h'oma sh- 'asa b'aya Sumb'er d'ay putr

1P.OBL INT- VIS.S. OBL brother before VIA son

d'eo i o kag'arik-o

de -o i o kag'a -rik -o

give.IMPV.2S -RTM come.IMPV.2S O crow -DMN-RTM

to this brother of ours give first a male child come O little crow

zh'anani maks'at-o has'il k'ario

zh'an -ani maks'at -o h'asi -l kar -i -o

soul -ADJ purpose -RTM fulfilment -ADJ make -IMPV.2S-RTM

i o kagarik'o

i o kag'a -rik -o

come.IMPV.2S O crow -DMN -RTM

satisfy the aspirations of the soul, come O little crow

The chant had an imploring and melancholy tone. A soloist, in turns, would call out a verse, and the others repeated it in unison. The verses invoke happiness, well-being and a long life. They ask to avert anxiety and sorrow; but most of all they express the wish for fertility and reproduction. The text contains also two specific requests: one by a woman who prayed for her sister's son who could not walk; and one on my behalf, that I may be granted a male son soon. (24) The White Crow is seen as a messenger, as an intermediary who carries the wishes of humans to God, called Allah, as in the Quran: the identification of the Supreme Being of the Kalasha pantheon with the God of Islam, as we have seen, is now an established fact. The prayer ends with a verse asking the Crow to fulfil ali the aspirations of the soul. A conclusion in which we may discern a recurring theme of winter feasts: the descent of a benevolent being who fulfils all wishes.
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Title Annotation:p. 187-221
Author:Cacopardo, Augusto S.
Publication:Acta Orientalia
Date:Jan 1, 2010
Previous Article:The towers of Yue.
Next Article:Texts from the winter feasts of the Kalasha of Birir.

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