Lahore’s 2nd Gift to the World: Basant

“In the spirit of all the holiday gift giving that will be taking place over the next couple of months, all the Metroblogging cities are giving 7 gifts to the world throughout the week of NOV 26th – DEC 2. Lahore comes up with its 2nd Gift to the World.”

The second most important aspect of Lahore’s cultural character is the colorful event of Basant; the Kite-flying festival in spring.

View of Lahore on Basant Night

Basant is a true Lahori celebration of colors, flowers, kites, fragrances, of love & of a sweet youthful time called Spring. Each March brings the colorful blooming of Lahore, the city of Gardens.

Whole of the city is decorated with colorful sponsor banners and lights all along the canal, the Mall Road and Main Boulevard, Gulberg. All major landmarks are lit up to show grandeur of Lahore’s rich architecture and its Mughal & British Colonial heritage.

Queen Noor Jehan’s brother, Asif Jah’s Haveli; all lit up for Basant

Friends and family gather at common places to celebrate reunions and party for most of the Basant Night. Starting from the sunset, flood lights are lit up all over the city’s skyline as people start off with white-kite flying. BarBQs are served with traditional Lahori dishes as the cries of “Bo Katas” & Dhol (traditional drums) echo throughout the next day.

Friends & Family celebrate Basant Source: Rehan Fazal’s Flickr

People from different cultures and countries are welcomed by their hosts. Many foreign dignitaries, diplomats from the federal capital, Islamabad are invited over to different Basant events in Lahore.

A Kite Shop in Lahore Source: Reuters

Basant has become the biggest drawer of tourists for this historic city and Pakistan’s cultural capital. Most of the suburbans book roofs in the old city especially for this event. From 5-star hotels to Golf Clubs, from Banks to Telecom companies; all become a part of Jashn-e-Baharan (Celebration of the Spring) by arranging functions of their own in different vicinites of the city.

A local McDonald’s celebrates Basant

For a Lahori, Basant is a blend of joy, happiness, love and celebration; a moment of rejoicing with loved ones and that of just chilling out.

As other Metroblogging make eforts in gift giving, David Markland from Los Angeles has been maintaining a regularly updated, day-to-day Guide to Metroblogging Cities’ Gifts to the World

5 Comments so far

  1. mansoor (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 2:16 pm

    i’ve only heard about it till now..

    hopefully, someday i’ll get to see what the hype is all about.

    wonderful gift!

  2. Sa'ad (unregistered) on December 1st, 2006 @ 8:51 pm

    You mean ‘Jashn-e-bahaaraaN’. Yeh forgot all about basant as a gift but to be honest, i dislike idiots who dont practice it within safety limits and end up slicing someone’s neck or ears off. As a child, i too was almost a victim of such an accident. Quick thinking almost saved me from slicing my eyes. Enough gory images?
    But yes its a unique lahore activity.

  3. Bulla (unregistered) on December 3rd, 2006 @ 4:41 am

    A gift that kills people – how ironic!

  4. Mani (unregistered) on December 3rd, 2006 @ 6:34 am

    Assalam Alaikum,
    Great information Hasan.

    I’m also a Lahori and was a great fond of Basant. But as far as I know, the government has banned it because of too much casualities and most of the times deaths of innocent people occur, just because of our negligence.

    Two years back Basant was celebrated by the Lahorites for the enjoyment, happiness, meeting with friends & relatives, even the people from outside the country make their trip to Lahore just for this big evnt. But the last two years have seen a dramatic change in this celebration.

    Now it has become a challenge for most of the Patang Baaza (Kite fliers), to cut the greater number of kites of their opponents. For this they use deadly chemicals and crushed glass to sharpen their Dorr (twine), which in turn cut the throats of people especially while driving motorbikes.

    No doubt there are evidences of such cases.

    I want to know, what happend to Lahorites that the twine, which was easily breakable by two hands, is now so strong that it can easily spare your neck from your body. Earlier this was only possible by a sword, that’s what I saw in movies.

    Please I request to all Lahorites and others, who come Lahore to celebrate basant, to stop such kind of activities for the sake of HUMANITY. If we’ll not stop it, there’s a possibility that, we may be the next victim (NA-OOZ-BILLAH).

    Lets work together to keep this day a “Day of Celebration”, not a “Day of Mourning” for some families.

    I hope this’ll end soon or I’m afraid that Lahore will lose it’s tradional celebration.

    Thanks for reading.
    Allah Hafiz,

  5. Hasan Mubarak (unregistered) on December 4th, 2006 @ 11:31 am

    @Mani: Hats off to you! Thank you for pointing this very important aspect. I totally back your opinion on the issue… :)

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