Basant or the kite flying festival is celebrated in Lahore in early March to mark the advent of the spring season. It has nothing to do with religion and is not new to the area either.
For centuries this has been a ritual to welcome spring. Basant is mostly celebrated in Lahore with much pomp and show and vigor than in any other part of the Pakistan. It would not be wrong to say that basant is truly celebrated in Lahore only.
People from adjoining cities go to Lahore to take part in the festivities The Basant fever catches up from the month of February. The skilled kite makers prepare colorful kites and strings. People buy lots of kites to take part in the festival.
Yellow is the dominant color and ladies, get special clothes stitched for this occasion. People stay on their rooftops for the traditional kite flying. The festival is celebrated for five days as thousands of kites litter the skies. Various kite fighters both amateur and professional participate in it. During the event, kite fighters try to cut and snag each other’s kites down.
On Basant day, people gather on the rooftops to fly kites. Kite flying competitions are held, the air is thick with tension and drummers beat drums to encourage the kite fliers.
The cries of “Bo kata” fill the air whenever a kite goes down. Special dishes are prepared for the occasion and kite flying continues well after dark. At night dinners, musical concerts and plain old family gatherings complete the day.
The festival is celebrated in all the cities of Pakistan but sky over Lahore is a sight to see. Some Islamic fundamentalists’ term basant as non-Islamic, however, for a lively Lahorite, it is a form of entertainment and a healthy activity.