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    FESTIVALS IN PAKISTAN  

Festivals in Pakistan

Festivals in PakistanPakistan's calendar features a great many Muslim religious festivals. Others are in memory of National Heroes or commemorate political events in the nation's recent history. Muslim festivals are celebrated according to Muslim (Lunar) Calendar and may occur some 10 days earlier each successive Christian year. There are several folk festivals held regularly in every part of the country. Exact dates of such festivals are fixed annually by the District Administration of the respective area, at least 02 months in advance.

Festivals and fairs inject life and vigour in the lives of the people living anywhere in the world. Be it tomato throwing or racing in front of fuming bull, despite the danger the show goes on with lots of fun and laughter. Likewise, people in Pakistan have their own way of sharing love and joy.

Shab-e-Barat: 

Festivals in PakistanReligious festival celebrated on 14th of Shaaban, the 8th Islamic month. Prayers, fire works, exchange of sweet dishes and visits.

Eid-ul-Fitr:
Religious festival celebrating end of fasting month on 1st of Shawwal, the 10th month of Islamic  Calendar. Special prayer after sun-rise, exchange of sweet dishes, visits.

Sibi Festival: (Last week of February)
At Sibi (Balochistan). Traditional sports, handicrafts exhibition, folk music and dances. 

Sindh Horse & Cattle Show: (Last week of February) 
At Jacobabad (Sindh). Similar activities as in Sibi Festival.

Festivals in PakistanJashan-e-Larkana: (Last week of February)
At Larkana (Sindh). Traditional sports, exhibition of handicrafts, folk music and dances.

Bassant
With the advent of spring Basant Festival is celebrated with pomp and show in mid February every year in Lahore. In other words this is the spring festival.

Alleging that kite flying is a Hindu event is also sheer ignorance. The sport originated in China about 5000 years ago, when Hinduism was in non existent. Why single out kite-flying then, especially when it is a source of joy for the old and the young men and women? The simple reason is that Hindu at Basant Festival fly kites for enjoying Basant. With times Muslims who were living together with Hindus in the sub-continent also join them in kite-flying. Since then Muslims are taking participation in just kite-flying at the time of Basant connotating it as Pala Urant. Now a days people of Lahore enjoy it by kite flying competition and by visiting the shrine of saint Madho Lal Hussein, where they assemble to pay their benediction.

Lahore is becoming the main focal point for the celebration of this festival in Pakistan. People traditionally fly kites on the roofs of their buildings. It is commonly observed that rest houses, hotels and house of relatives of the participants are fully packed with guests from all over the country. Moreover some five star hotels also arrange this function on their roof top for foreigners and other high class gentry. They also arrange variety of dishes with musical concert. Sometimes Lahorities on this occasion become emotional and in this state create law and order problems for the administration. Some of them use metal thread for kite-flying. Their such a deed oftenly imposes, besides life threat, a serious problem for WAPDA when the thread touches the live wires.

Inspite of the fact Basant Festival which has no links with the Muslim culture is becoming very popular and being celebrated in Lahore regularly every year with zeal and fervent.

Nauroze:  (21-23 March) 
Celebrated only in Gilgit, Hunza, Skardu and Chitral. Polo, foot-ball, volley-ball and hockey matches, folk dances and music.

Pakistan Day:   (23 March) 
Commemorating the anniversary of Pakistan Resolution passed on March 23, 1940. Military parade at provincial capitals and Islamabad.

Mela Chiraghan (Festival of lamps):
(Last week of March) 
Held for 01 week outside Shalimar Gardens, Lahore. 

Horse & Cattle Show:  
(End of March till 1st week of April).
At Dera Ismail Khan. Local games, folk dances, music, cattle races and exhibition of local handicrafts. 

Jashan-e-Shikarpur: (In April for 01 week) 
At Shikarpur, Sindh. Cultural activities, local sports and handicrafts exhibition. 

Eid-ul-Azha: 
Religious festival commemorating the great sacrifice offered by Prophet Abraham. Celebrated on 10 Zilhaj, 12th month of Islamic Calendar. Collective prayers after sun set, sacrifice of  goats, sheep, cows or camels and distribution of meat among relatives, friends and poor.

Joshi or Chilimjusht:   (14-15 May)
Kalash festival of welcoming spring, held in Kalash Valleys near Chitral. Folk dances, music and exchange of dishes.

Shandur Polo Festival    
Traditional polo tournament between the teams of Chitral and Gilgit is being held on the highest polo ground of the world - The Shandur Pass (Chitral district). Allied activities include fold music, folk dances and other competitions. A tent village along Shandur Lake will be set up in cooperation with the local administration.

Utchal: (15-16 July)
A harvest festival, celebrated by Kalash people in Kalash Valleys, Chitral.

Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi:  
Birth Anniversary of Prophet Hazrat Mohammad (P.B.U.H). on 12th of Rabi-ul-Awwal - the 3rd month of Islamic Calendar.

Independence Day: (14 August)
Meeting, processions, rallies, decorations and illustrations all over the country.

Defense of Pakistan Day:   (06 September)
Parades and exhibitions of military equipment at Rawalpindi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi. Visits to the war memorials. (No national holiday except Armed Forces)

Air force Day:  (07 September)
Display of latest aircraft of Pakistan Air force and air shows at Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta. 

Phool: (20 - 25 September)
Held in Kalash Valleys near Chitral. Reaping grapes and walnuts, dancing and singing.

Lok Mela: (1st week of October, for one week)
Folk Festival held at Islamabad. Folk Music, songs, music contests, folk dances, craftsmen at  work, exhibition and sale of handicrafts. The festival presents a unique opportunity to watch the culture and craft of the whole country at one place.

Chowmas:  (18-21 October)
Held in Kalash Valleys near Chitral. Welcoming of winter with first snow-fall. Activities restrict to indoor.

Karakoram Car Rally:  
A colorful closing/award giving ceremony was held in Hunza Valley. Prizes, shields, certificates were distributed among the ralliers. SAF-International Karakoram Car Rally was also planned for year 2001, but it was postponed. International Karakoram Car Rally has been proposed to be held during the month of November in 2002 as part of the International Year of Mountains celebrations

Birthday of Allama Muhammad Iqbal: .(09 November) 
National Poet :

National Industrial Exhibition Islamabad:  
Exhibition and sale of Pakistan's industrial products and handicraft items

National Industrial Exhibition Lahore:
(3rd week of November for 15 days)
 Held at Fortress Stadium, Lahore. Exhibition and sale of industrial products and handicrafts of Pakistan. 

National Horse & Cattle Show Lahore: 
(3rd week of November for 05 days ) 
Held at Fortress Stadium, Lahore. Cattle races, cattle dances, tent-pegging, tattoo show, folk music, dances, bands, cultural floats and folk games. The show has been described as an eloquent expression of Pakistan's heritage and an authentic account of its agricultural and industrial achievement's. It is held in Lahore Fortress stadium at the end of February or at First week of March. The fortress stadium, the venue of the show is thronged by active participants, foreign visitors and peoples who watch the festival with great enthusiasm, verve and aplomb.

A large number of them are interested in watching and appreciating the best breeds of livestock. Many derive pleasure by watching other activities such as display parade of animals, dances by horses and camels, polo matches, tent pegging, dog shows and their races, vaudeville acts of stuntmen, mass display of military band, rhythmically physical exercise by the children.

Tastefully decorated industrial floats and torch light tattoo shows. Additional attractions include a subtle interplay of lights to weave enticing patterns at night and breath taking acts by foreign groups. The show began as a modest exhibition organized by the army to project the cattle wealth of the country in the early fifties.

Today it is an international event to which come dignitaries from abroad and visitors and foreign tourists. The organizing committee comprises representatives of a number of agencies including army, rangers, LMC schools, the police, industrialists and the art councils.

Christmas and Birth Anniversary  of Quaid-e-Azam *: (25 December)
 
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