The Experience Highlights:
This Basant Kite Flying Festival is celebrated on the 26th and 27th of January every year, to mark the beginning of spring. Basant Mela is the kite flying festival of Pakistan, celebrated mainly in Lahore—the historic capital of Pakistan. The Basant Kite Festival in Lahore is celebrated in spring, and heralds the beginning of the season. Along with the kites there is also great food, folk art, dancing and music. When you first visit Pakistan’s capital city during the Basant Kite Festival, you will see that the streets are filled with enthusiastic people flying kites everywhere. They fly them on the terrace, on top of roofs, and even standing on vehicles. The sky is dotted with thousands of kites of different shapes and colours.
People fly kites during the night also, which illuminates the sky in a most unique way. Once the Basant Kite Flying Festival starts, the Basant Mela market also begins. The Basant Mela market sells various things and holds many of the other festival’s activities. The Basant mela is a very crowded place filled with flowers and fruits, and also sumptuous Punjabi food. There will be the widest variety of kebabs to taste at the Basant Kite Festival, as well as puppet shows, horse dancing, folk dancing, handicrafts and arts.
Pakistan has a wide variety of cuisines, and when you visit Lahore for the Basant Kite Festival, you really have to indulge in the amazing food. This is really no place for a diet.
In the pre-partitioned Punjab, especially Lahore–celebrated the basant mela Panchami by flying kites. Muslims of Punjab also celebrated the Basant although it was considered as a local (Hindu or folk) festival. The younger Muslim folk did participate in kite flying as an event. At the time of partition in 1947, population of Lahore city was almost equally divided between Muslims (52%) and Hindus/Sikh (48%). By the end of September 1947, almost all the Hindus had left West Punjab/Lahore for India, but their tradition of Basant remained; and even today Lahore take pride in basant mela and fly kites from their rooftops with the same enthusiasm.
Being the historic capital of Punjab there is no other place where basant mela is celebrated with as much vigour and enthusiasm as the ancient city of Lahore. Although traditionally it was a festivel confined to the old-walled city it has spread all through out the city
With the advent of spring, skies of Lahore are resplendent with all types and sizes of kites. The Lahorites participate in kite flying competitions to herald the spring. basant mela is not only a kite flying event, but a cultural festival of traditional food, dresses, dances and music.
Day 01: January 26th Activities of basant mela: Visitors will be greeted at the airport in traditional style, Transportation to/from the airport with the guide explaining about the festival basant in lahore, Cultural trour to welcome the delegates upon arrival at the hotel. Welcome drinks (Lasi). dinner – Punjabi Food Festival in Kim’s – serving traditional array of food in Punjabi cultural ambiance, A tour to the walled city to witness night kite-flying and illuminated colorful, historical monuments and balconies.
Day02: January 27th Activities of basant mela: Reception in the Lawns – The delegates will be decorated with yellow scarves and the ladies will be decorated with Gajras, Breakfast with traditional Punjabi food, Kite flying competition, Performance by Cultural troupe throughout the day, traditional lunch arrangements in the Lawns, Performance by famous folk singers, Dancing horses and jhumar dances, Stalls of kites, bangles, flowers, handicrafts etc. Tonga ride: Enjoy dinner in Food street – Punjabi Food Festival, Lahore by night – tour on Bugees.
Basant festival is celebrated on the onset of spring season every year in Pakistan. Basant is also known as Jashan-e-Baharan that means festival of spring. To celebrate basant people fly kites and welcome the spring season and this festival can be named as kites’ festival as well. This festival is usually celebrated in the February. Many people set up their shops of kites and decorate them with colorful lights.
Kites are made in variety of colors, sizes and shapes and different kites are named differently. A special thread is prepared for the kits that is known as dorr. This special thread is embedded with cut glass to make it strong so it could serve to cut the thread of other competitor’s kite.
Lahore is a city that is known for its richness in its culture and festivals. In Pakistan, basant festival is mainly celebrated in Lahore especially in Androon-e-Sheher (inner city of Lahore or Walled city of Lahore). Not just from all over the Pakistan but people from all over the world visit Lahore city to celebrate this festival. Other cities where basant festival is mainly celebrated are Faisalabad, Gujranwala, Karachi, Multan, Kasur, Sialkot, Jhelum, Rawalpindi and Islamabad.
People have special preparations for this festival. Girls wear yellow dresses and bangles on this day. Boys purchase variety of kites and dorrs for this day. Sky on this day gets filled with the colorful kits of different sizes and presents an eye-catching view. Special arrangements for music, dance and food are made to add more joy to the day. All these arrangements are made on the rooftops and people prefer to celebrate this festival on high roofs. Competitions of kite flying are often held and the competitor who successfully cuts the thread of other competitor’s kite stands as winner.
This festival is also a source of revenue generation for the people involved in different kinds of businesses like food, kite and dorr making etc. Many hotels also rent out their roofs and some arrange the festival and sell passes to make profit. This festival starts on the one night and ends on the next night.
Over the years this festival gained more and more importance that even the celebrities of India used to visit Pakistan especially Lahore to celebrate it. Unfortunately, because of some people, this festival became fatal because they used special kind of thread embedded within crushed glass and metal that caused many deaths and Government of Pakistan banned this festival all over the country.
Now government should take some steps to ensure the safety of people and try to take off the ban so this colorful festival could be celebrated again.