The mix of culture and heritage which Pakistan supports is the reason why it brings color and grandeur to its land all year round. With authentic dances, music, dazzling attires, some of these famous festivals of Pakistan, definitely should make it to every individual’s must attend list!
1. Sibi Festival
The advent of the event took place in the 15th century when the tribes in Balochistan decided to meet together in Sibi, annually. The tradition successfully continued through the 17th century and the event takes place today still. However, today the Sibi festival (Mela in local language) occurs not only to further the discussions of the tribes but to develop camel, horse and cattle breeding, as well as promote handicrafts made by the local Balochi men and women. The festival also holds various tournaments and exhibitions. The Sibi mela is one of the festivals of Pakistan which takes place for almost a week in the mid-February when it marks the beginning of spring in the country.
2. Mela Chiraghan
The festival of Chiraghan (also known as the festival of light) is one of the major events which takes place in Shalimar Garden, Lahore. Mela Chiraghan is also one of the festivals of Pakistan and should not to be missed when it is arranged in March for three consecutive days, every year. History tells us that this particular festival is celebrated to mark the Urs of a Punjabi Sufi poet with the name of Shah Hussain. The event is attended by thousands of people from around the country despite which religion they belong to, and are there to enjoy one of the most colorful and joyful event. There’s singing and dancing, all types of cultural foods to indulge in such as the infamous gol gappas, qatlamas and sweetmeats, in addition to the moment when thousands of people light candles which are placed in clay pots. The festivities carry on through the night as the rotating dervishes dance to the beats of the drums, while keeping the audience entranced.
3. Shandur Polo Festival
Another one of the famous festivals of Pakistan is a Shandur Polo festival, people keenly await every year. The festival takes place from 7th to 9th July annually on top of Shandur Pass which is around 3,700 meters above the sea level. The event marks rivalry between the two teams of Gilgit and Chitral who face off in a polo match, a match thousands of people come to witness. A few other attractions that the festival offers include folk music, folk dance, mountaineering, trout fishing, hiking trekking and of course, horseback riding! Come around to experience a festival surrounded by the most spectacular view of the snow-laden mountains, alpine flowers, crystal like lakes and stretched of green grass.
Utchal is a summer festival which is organized by the people of Kalash and takes place from 18th to 21st August in the valley of Kalash, located in Chitral (An area not easily approachable yet through the right arrangements can be visited). This particular festival is celebrated to mark the harvest of wheat and barley in the region, and is an event filled with joy, laughter, dancing and singing and not to forget feasting! Another Pakistani cultural festival you might not want to miss experiencing.
5. Lok Mela
National Folk Festival also knows as Lok Mela is one of the most awaited festivals of Pakistan. This festival is embraced by national and international artisans and performers. In this festival you are provided with a splendid opportunity to experience the variety of tastes, cultures, heritage which Pakistan has to offer and all under one roof.
6. National Horse & Cattle Show
This particular show is known to take place in the heart of Punjab, Lahore. Horse and Cattle show is held at Fortress Stadium in the beginning of November and continues for five consecutive days. The show brings together the breeders of these horses and cattle from around the country who showcase the best breeds of their livestock. The event is also marked by cattle races/dances, tent pegging, folk music/dances and folk games. The national horse and cattle show eloquently describes the expression of Pakistan’s heritage and a must to attend!
Jashan-e-Larkana is celebrated in the last week of the month of February. The event is organized in Larkana Sindh. It is a three-day festival where different competitions are held and traditional sports like kabaddi are played. A trade fair is also set up where Sindhi handicrafts and traditional dresses and jewelry are sold. A festival in Pakistan not to be missed indeed.
8. Navroz Festival
Navroz is an event of joy for a group of Ithna Asheri followers. It is a day when the people who belong to the Parsi community choose a color theme on the day of the festival, and abide by every year. It is a festival in Pakistan when the tables are set with delicious food and other items.
Another Pakistani festival which is a must attend is the famous Jashan-e-Shikarpur held in the month of February/March every year. The festival is organized in a district in Sindh province under the name of Shikarpur. The event represents a culture of the said area and is typically marked with a traditional sports competition, an exhibitions of handicrafts, folk music and dances.
10. Joshi or Chilimjusht
The people of Kalash have a strong sense of identity and therefore hold a number of festivals all year round in order to parade and promote their way of living amongst all the other tribes present in the northern region of Pakistan. Joshi This is celebrated in May and welcomes the coming of spring in the region, it is hence a spring festival for the people of Kalash. During this time, people wear new clothes, women heavily accessorize, while the girls dance and sing. Houses are decorated, milk is collected from the cattle and even the new-born babies and their mothers are purified in this festival. In short, it is a festival to look out for and attend at least once in your life time.
Chowmas is an event that takes place in the valley of Kalash near Chitral during the winter time. It is a one of the kind festivals of Pakistan, and is held to welcome the winter season and the first snow fall. The festivities are mostly restricted to indoors due to the cold weather.
12. Karakoram Car Rally
The Karakoram car rally is one of the most thrilling festivals of Pakistan which was initiated in order to promote the northern areas of Pakistan and the Karakoram highway (also considered the eightieth wonder of the world). The rally is organized every year and usually starts from Islamabad.
Last but not the least Basant, also known as the festival of kite flying is a must attend. It is surely a festival in Pakistan celebrated with pomp and show during the February in Lahore, every year. Basant is a kite flying event when people climb to the top of their roofs to do so. The event also arranges a variety of dishes and a musical concert and an evening full of shared laughter and fun.