Pakistan is a culturally rich country with several festivals and events celebrating various natural, religious, national, and other events round-the-year. Some events even owe their existence to the change of seasons! While winter is often mild in most parts of the country, it is simultaneously harsh in other areas. However, the coming of spring brings back blooming flowers, green fields, and positive energy. This is why several spring festivals in Pakistan celebrate the season upon its arrival.
Locally known as Jashn-e-Baharan, the festivals of spring differ from region to region and community to community. Some of the most popular festivals that celebrate spring in Pakistan need to be discussed. That’s precisely what we’ll do here. Let’s get talking:
Our list of spring festivals in Pakistan begins, first and foremost with Basant. While the festival is mostly celebrated in Punjab, it is equally loved and cherished by every Pakistani.
Lahore used to be the hub of Basant celebrations, mainly because it included a kite flying competition where children flew kites from their rooftops. The city was a sight to be seen during the event, with multi-coloured kites dotting the skies and the shouts of ‘Bo-Kata!’ Unfortunately, kite making, selling and flying have been banned in the region due to safety concerns. However, this was not the only aspect of the event to be enjoyed.
Basant is a cultural festival connected to food, music, flowers, bangles, dance, and colours. Yellow dominates almost every celebration, with many people adorning cultural dresses with vibrant embroideries on yellow backdrops.
The event is still celebrated on a small scale, in the form of a ‘mela’ or funfair in private clubs, parks, and other venues. It is a time of joy, and communities come together to bond and welcome the spring season with the event. Several educational institutes also organise similar festivals that celebrate spring in Pakistan for their students.
Horse and Cattle Show
Celebrated mostly in Sindh, the Horse and Cattle Show is also known by many other names. Among these are Jashn-e-Shikarpur and Jashn-e-Larkana. The festival is celebrated in various cities across Sindh, including Jacobabad, where horses and cattle are put up for display.
Besides, cultural handicrafts, dancing, folk music, and animal races are also an essential part of the festivities. Cultural floats are set up, and people don regional dresses to show pride in their cultural heritage. While this is the place to be if you want to witness the best breeds of livestock, many people come here just for the colours, sounds, and activities that make the venue come alive.
Other regions also organise similar spring festivals in Pakistan. One example is the Sibi Mela held in a similar fashion in Balochistan, at a 3-hour’s drive from the city of Quetta. The festival traces its origins back to the 15th century when the British used to hold tribal meetings in the area along with a fair. Today, the celebration is held at the start of spring with activities including livestock shows, races, and games, all having a distinct Balochi touch.
Different communities have different festivals that celebrate spring in Pakistan. The Chilam Jusht, also known as Joshi or Chilam Joshi is a celebration of spring by the people of the Kalash Valley in Chitral. Celebrated in May, the event starts off with a celebratory procession from the settlement of Rumbur, moving on to Bamburet and then Birir.
The people of Kalash organise the festival as a means of thanking their gods for their blessings. Seasonal food is also offered to ancestral spirits and the gods to please them so that they will continue to watch over the valley.
The festival involves women decorating every house in the village, wearing their traditional black robes and headdresses decorated with shells and beads. After this, women start dancing in a circle with the men joining in later. All the dances are accompanied by their native songs and drum beats. Village elders tell stories of bygone days to the younger generation.
Another festival celebrated in Pakistan is Navroz. It marks the coming of spring along with the beginning of the Persian New Year. The event holds significance for the Ismaili and Parsi communities in the country and is connected to the concepts of rebirth and rejuvenation. On Navroz, believers of the faith show their gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon them.
It is a time for family bonding, with lots of traditional delicacies cooked for a feast. Homes are cleaned and decorated with flowers for the event. People also visit their place of worship for special prayers on the day. Kids get dressed in new clothes, families greet each other and wish happiness and prosperity to one another with gifts, symbolising the beginning of spring and abundance in sustenance.
These are some of the spring festivals in Pakistan that are celebrated in different parts of the country. You can even make the most of the spring season by changing your home décor to bring the colourful season indoors.