Basant: Herald of spring season

Written By: Aleem Bayar

Basant (a Sanskrit word for spring) is a seasonal festival of Indo-Pak sub-continent. It is a centuries old cultural tradition of Punjab, celebrated at the end of winter to welcome spring in Pakistan. Apart from other cities of Punjab, the event is mainly celebrated in provincial capital Lahore in the month of February with immense zeal and enthusiasm. In pre-partition India, Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs all celebrated Basant. Mustard blossom that is yellow in color is considered the color of spring and accordingly yellow clothes were worn; men wore yellow turbans and women yellow dupattas and saris. It was common to sway swings among Hindu, Muslim and Sikh women together and Basant’s traditional songs were sung that reflected the liveliness and romance of life in Punjab.

Kite flying is the major and most colorful event of this festival. The sky is covered with different colorful kites and sweet yellow rice (zarda) is prepared specially for this occasion. People use searchlights in the night to fly kites. All the family members gather at one single place, mostly on the rooftops, and celebrate this festival. Ancient Mughal palaces throw open their doors for all-night parties to view the kites, illuminated by spotlights slashing the sky. Stars from the local 'Lollywood' film industry perform with classical Qawali musicians at parties in traditional haveli homes. Hotels in Lahore in Islamabad are packed to capacity and quite often it happens that people don't even find a room to stay. Since not only people from all across the country, but people from neighboring countries like India also come to Pakistan to enjoy this flamboyant festival with their relatives.

Kite making has developed into a big industry in Pakistan. Thousands of people are involved in this industry and are earning their livelihood from kites and thread. The small festival originating from Lahore has now spread all over the country enlightening the welcoming festivities of spring.

1 Response to "Basant: Herald of spring season"

  1. tooba May 18, 2010 at 4:11 PM
    basant is definitely a season that brings a sense of joy and color across the country!

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