Growing up in Pakistan, the arrival of spring was marked with fresh blossoms, many festive melas (carnivals) and the biggest festival of all, Basant. This was a festival of kites celebrated in Lahore, and all over Punjab and in other parts of Pakistan. Specials feasts would be prepared, Abrar-ul-haq’s songs would blare from roof tops, ladies would wear bright yellow clothes (stitched for the occasion) and men would put colorful dupattas around their necks as everyone competed to have the loudest music and highest flying kites. Sharing some of my fondest Basant memories.
I found some old pictures in my computer of Basant celebrations in inner city Lahore when we went there over the Basant weekend in the spring of 2002. These pictures brought back lovely Basant memories of the celebrations across the whole city of Lahore. There were concerts by Abrar-ul-haq, Fareeha Parvaiz and Sukbir. We spotted celebrities, cricket stars and Bollywood big shots who had hopped the border. And it wouldn’t be a Lahore festival if there wasn’t amazing food everywhere. I’m sharing some of the pictures from my camera in this post.
The festival of Basant was officially celebrated over a weekend but went over whole weeks in many houses. While the whole city buzzed with the festival, the interior old part of the cities with the houses huddled close together and beautiful havelis were the place to be. There was a different feel of Basant celebrations during the day and at night. During the day there would be celebrations in gardens or on roof tops adorned with marigold garlands, with extensive brunch menus of Halwa Puri, Nihari, Paye, Cholay and Methai. At night, the roof tops would be lined with bright lights of all types: stringed together, strobe lights or even the disco ones. The constant in all the celebrations was Fareeha Parvaiz’s “Patang Baaz Sajana”, Abrar-ul-haq’s many hits and the sky filled with a million kites.
I lived in Lahore for two years (2003-2005) as I did my MBA from LUMS and sadly missed Basant both years thanks to exams and my nerdy self. How I wish now I had joined the adventurous few who decided to leave the books for Basant celebrations that night. I definitely don’t remember the grade I got in that particular exam but my friends still have some lovely stories and memories of the fun they had.
The Basant festival has now been banned for many years because of unsafe kite flying practices that caused unfortunate deaths. The Basant memories however live on for anyone who experienced it in Pakistan. I see many people try to relive the magic as they have moved all across the world, by taking out their kites and dors (strings) and have kite flying festivals.
As spring arrived in Canada, we took out a few of our Urdu books about kite making and Melas (carnivals). I showed my daughter pictures of Basant from Pakistan and we listened to a few favorite songs from the season. We decided to do a craft inspired by the beautiful Lahore sky during Basant. Here’s our video with all the steps and I will also write them below.
Things you will need: lots of paper of different colors, glue, scissors, string and color pencils.
1. Take a white plain paper as your base. Cut some different shape rectangles and paste to the bottom to depict buildings.
2. Cut lots of fun shapes like rectangles, triangles, circles or flowers using many different colors.
3. Start gluing them on the paper to make up kites. Be creative and have fun.
4. Add the strings below the kites and you’re done!
Below is a side by side comparison of our inspiration and creation. What do you think!
[Read More: Pakistan Flag: Five Fun Crafts to Make it