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.
|Official name||Basant Panchami|
|Observed by||All faiths|
|Observances||Kite flying. Eating sweet dishes. Decorating homes with yellow flowers.|
|2017 date||1 February 2017 Punjab region between Jan-Feb|
The Basant Kite Festival of Punjab has been a historic spring time kite flying event during the Basant Panchami festival in the Punjab region in India and Pakistan. It falls on Basant, also called Basant PanchamiPunjabi: ਬਸੰਤ ਪੰਚਮੀ; Urdu: بسنت پنچمی; Hindi: बसन्त पञ्चमी) and Vasant Panchami). According to the Punjabi calendar it is held on the fifth day of lunar month of Magha (in late January or early February) marking the start of spring.
Amritsar, Lahore, and Kasur are the traditional areas where kite flying festivals are held. A popular Basant Mela is held in Lahore (see Festivals of Lahore). However, the festival has also been traditionally celebrated in areas such as Sialkot, Gujranwala and Gurdaspur.
Historically, Maharaja Ranjit Singh held an annual Basant fair and introduced kite flying as a regular feature of the fairs held during the 19th  century which included holding fairs at Sufi shrines. Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his queen Moran would dress in yellow and fly kites on Basant. The association of kite flying with Basant soon became a Punjabi tradition with the centre in Lahore which remains the regional hub of the festival throughout the Punjab region. Indeed, Maharaja Ranjit Singh held a darbar or court in Lahore on Basant which lasted ten days during which time soldiers would dress in yellow and show their military prowess. Other traditions of the Basant in Lahore included women swaying on swings and singing.
Queen of Maharaja Ranjit Singh, 'Moran Sarkar'
Malwa, Punjab, India
The festival of Basant is celebrated across Malwa, Punjab where people organize gatherings to fly kites. In areas such as Firozpur, children generally fly kites to mark the auspicious occasion. A large fair is organised on the day of Basant Panchmi in the Shiva temple of Bansari and Gudri which is located in Dhuri, Sangrur district. The fair includes swings, rides and food.
The ban on kite flying around the festival period in Pakistan imposed due to use of dangerous, life-threatening substances in the strings, was set to be lifted to enable celebrations to take place in 2017. But as of 7 February 2017, the ban will continue. In 2004, Nawa-i-Waqt, a Pakistani daily opposed Basant Panchami celebrations in Pakistan, arguing that the festival celebrated Haqiqat Rai's insult of Muhammad.
In North India, and in the Punjab province of Pakistan, Basant is considered to be a seasonal festival and is celebrated as a spring festival of kites. The festival marks the commencement of the spring season. In the Punjab region (including the Punjab province of Pakistan), Basant Panchami has been a long established tradition of flying kites and holding fairs.
Basant is celebrated in Ralwalpindi, Pakistan with the flying of kites.
Yellow outfits are worn on Basant (Rakhi Vijan))
Gajar Halwa (Carrot fudge)