Archive for May 2011
“pinna pakarh”, “daur chaaurh”, “paycha lag gaya hai, dheel daii DHEEL Daaayyy, BOO KAAATAAAA” … guys shouting the victory slogan; and then big speakers of stereo deck playing, “Patang baaz sajna say, patang baaz balma day … ”. This is typical night of spring festival of Basant celebrated on rooftops of old homes in central city of 1000BC cultural capital of Lahore.
The Basant Festival or Jashn-e-Baharaan (Festival of Spring) hails the start of spring. Kite-fliers in Lahore’s old town take to their rooftops and use strings coated with glass to cut the competition from the sky. Keep your head tilted skyward to glimpse the vibrant-coloured kites. For those wanting to get a piece of the action, Lahore’s shops are full of kites, so you can pick one up and claim your slice of the sky.
There a lot of rush at kite shops as children and middle-aged men gathered to purchase their favourite coloured kites and strings. The festival is part of the city’s centuries old culture, adding that a number of special dishes are also prepared for the occasion. Basant is the event of colours and lights, number of people in the area has installed lights at their residences; “the dance of kites in lights” is visible to everyone who would look up.
Last spring my friend living near most famous and monumental structure of Chauburji in Lahore invited us to celebrate the Basant at his residence. We all pitched in financially to buy kites and strings. I have to admit that we were not expert kite-fliers, though very enthusiastic. Among 10 kites bought, we lost half of them to the rivals and claimed one; it wasn’t a bad business deal in return of fun. His mother also prepared typical Lahori dish of “Nihari Naan” to add spice to the festival. It was not doubt best of all festive nights.
Nowadays Basant has taken shape of business; there are music concerts, family gatherings, theatres and official kite-flying competitions making this century old festival fun as well as profitable.