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FESTIVALS IN PAKISTAN

Religious Festivals:

Eid-ul-Fitr:
 Eid-ul-Fitr is a religious festival celebrated at the end of fasting month, Ramadan on 1st of Shawwal. It is a three days celebration during which time family and friends gather together for long meals, the sharing of gifts, and religious devotion.

 

Eid-ul-Azha:
Eid-ul-Azha is a three days celebration when Muslims from all over the world offer a sacrifice by slaughtering a sheep, cow, or goat following the traditional Islamic customs. It is also called the Festival of Sacrifice. The meat from the sacrifice is shared by friends, neighbors, relatives, and also distributed to the poor and needy.

 

Shab-e-Barat
Shab-e-Barat is a religious festival celebrated on 14th of Shaaban. The festival of Shab-e-Barat is celebrated with pomp and enthusiasm by Muslims all over the world. Muslims believe that on the night of Shab-e-Barat Allah writes the destinies of all people for the coming year by taking into account the deeds committed by them in the past. On this festival, prayers, fire works, exchange of sweet dishes and visits to friends and families are held 

Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi:  
Eid Milad-un Nabi is the birthday of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). It is celebrated by all the Muslims with religious enthusiasm and solemnity across the world. It falls on the 12th of Rabi'-ul-Awwal every year. This is a day of remembrance for Muslims, marked by prayers and reading of the Holy Quran.

National Festivals:

Pakistan Day:   (23 March) 
Pakistan Day is a momentous milestone in the history of Pakistan movement. This event is held to mark the anniversary of Pakistan Resolution passed by the Muslims of South Asia on March 23, 1940 at Minto Park (now Iqbal Park), Lahore. The resolution was presented by A. K. Fazlul Huq. The nation commemorates this day with great zeal and enthusiasm, to honor the most outstanding achievement of the Muslims of South Asia who passed the historic Pakistan Resolution resulting in the creation of Pakistan under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah; a homeland where they could live in peace, harmony and in accordance with the tenets of Islam.

Independence Day : (14 August)
This glorious day is a land mark in our history to commemorate the independence of Pakistan. Independence Day is celebrated with zeal and fervor in all parts of the country on August 14 with special programmes arranged in all big and small towns and rural areas. On this day, meetings, processions and rallies are held all over the country and the whole country is decorated on this day. People from various walks of life decorate their houses with national flags and the buildings, city shopping centres, bazaars and all the main roads are also being adorned with flags and fancy lights.

Defense of Pakistan Day:
  (06 September)
The 6th of September is a golden chapter in the history of Pakistan, when Pakistan, its military and people stood united in 1965 in defense of Pakistan and resolve to halt and beat back Indian multi-dimensional attacks against Pakistan. This historic day is commemorated through parades and exhibitions of military equipment at Rawalpindi, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi.

Air force Day:  (07 September)
Air Force day is celebrated on 7th of September marking the official beginning of the Indo-Pak war of 1965. That day Air shows and other programs mark the PAF's role in defending the nation. This day is celebrated by display of latest aircrafts of Pakistan Airforce and air shows at Rawalpindi, Sargodha, Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta. 

Birthday of Allama Muhammad Iqbal: .(09 November) 

9th November is celebrated as the birthday of the National Poet of Pakistan, Allama Iqbal. The event is celebrated with a lot of debating and poetry contests held at different institutes all over Pakistan.

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

This is celebrated on 25th December as the birthday of the founder of Pakistan Quaid-e-Azam and Christmas. This day is celebrated by the Christian minority and the whole nation.

 

Cultural Festivals:

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.

Sibi Festival: (Last week of February)
This festival falls in last week of February at Sibi. Traditional sports, handicrafts exhibition, folk music and dances.

Mela Chiraghan (Festival of lamps):
(Last week of March) 
Mela Chiraghan (festival of lamps) a mega event for the people of Punjab and especially for Lahorites is celebrated with traditional fervor and activities at the shrine of the renowned Sufi Shah Hussain. This festival is held for 1 week outside the Shalimar Gardens, Lahore. The festival attracts a large number of performing artists who mostly sing Shah Hussain's kafees and dance to the drums.

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)
This event is celebrated by Kalash people in Kalash Valleys, Chitral.It is celebrated to mark the harvest of wheat and barley. The celebration lasts for two days with dancing, singing, and feasting being its main features.

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

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.

Other Festivals:

Mother's Day:

Mother's Day is an occasion when individuals express their love and respect for their mothers. It falls on the second Sunday of May every year. It is a special day for honoring mothers through out the world. This day is dedicated to thank all mothers for their struggles and hardships they undertake in upbringing the child. It's time to recognize her for all she has done for her children over the years. 

Father's Day: 
Fathers have always been associated with guidance and protection; the person who can be loved, respected and looked up to. Father's Day is a day of commemoration and celebration of Dad. It is a day to honor all the fathers for everything they did for their children. This is an occasion to express gratitude towards your dad for all his love and support. The self sacrifices, determination, and sheer will of fathers are always admired and appreciated. Fathers, the special man in our life, are honored around the world in diverse ways. Father's Day provide children an opportunity to express love and respect for their fatherís unconditional love and affection. The sentiment goes a long way in strengthening father-child relationship and consequently in the emotional development of a child.

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

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

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

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. 

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

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

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

National Industrial Exhibition Islamabad:  
Exhibition and sale of Pakistanís 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. 

Christmas:  (25 December)
Held on birthday of Hazrat Esa(R.A).

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