EID-UL-ADHA-02Eid-ul-Azha or the greater Eid is celebrated on the 10th of Zilhaj, the last month of the Islamic lunar calendar. It is a three day festival. It is celebrated to commemorate the obedience of Abraham who readily agreed to sacrifice his son Ismail for Allah’s pleasure.

A cattle market is set up outside the city premises from where people can buy goats, sheep, cows and camels. Cows and camels have seven shares so those who cannot afford to sacrifice a whole animal can have a share. The animal has to be free of any physical deformities and injuries. It must not be too young as well. People generally buy animals a week or ten days prior to Eid. Different stalls selling fodder are set up through out the city. Children love to take care of the animals and are often seen roaming in the streets with the animals.

The Eid day begins with special prayers offered in open places and mosques. Then animals are slaughtered as soon as the butcher arrives. The meat is divided into three parts, one is kept for home, the second part is distributed among relatives and the third portion is given to the poor people. The hides are donated to charity organizations. Animals can be sacrificed till 12 noon of the third day.

In the evenings families hold barbecues and enjoy themselves. The T.V channels in Pakistan telecast special Eid programs.

EID-UL-ADHA-01Eid-ul-Azha is more than sacrificing animals and having barbecues. It is about sharing. While meat is the main dish in Pakistani households but sadly this cannot be said for all. There are many families who get to eat meat only on special occasions and festivals. Islam teaches us benevolence by sharing sacrificial meat with the poor, the spirit of brotherhood is rekindled. Some affluent families do not keep a share for themselves but distribute it among the poor and the needy.

Festivals like Eid are celebrated to infuse a spirit of brotherhood and compassion and to bring joy to all. Above all it is a way to thank the Almighty for his numerous blessings.

Its Basant..!!

basant-01Basant 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.

basant-02On 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.

Some Islamic fundamentalists term basant as non-Islamic, however, for a lively Lahorite, it is a form of entertainment and a healthy activity.

Guru Nanak’s Birthday

GURU NANAK-03Guru Nanak was born in 1469 in Nankana a small village some 40 miles from Lahore the provincial capital of Punjab, Pakistan. Although according to the Hindu calendar his birthday falls on 14th April, it is celebrated in November in accordance with the Gregorian calendar.

Sikhism is based on the teachings of Guru Nanak and the 9 other gurus that followed him. The Sikh festivals mostly revolve around the birth celebrations of its gurus and are known as GurPurabs. Basically the birthdays of all the Gurus are celebrated in the same way only the hymns are different. These birth celebrations last for three days.

GURU NANAK-02Millions of Sikhs all over the world celebrate the GurPurab with religious fervor. The celebrations begin with Akhand Path the continuous recitation of Guru Granth the Sikh Holy Book. The recitation occurs without break for 48 hours. A team of men and women carry out the recitations for 2-3 hours each and so the process continues for till the dawn of the birthday itself. A day prior to the birthday, a procession is taken out in which the Guru Granth is carried over a float bedecked with flowers. Five men representing the Panj Piaray (the five beloved) lead the procession carrying the Sikh flag the Nishan Sahib. They are accompanied by musicians and singers singing religious songs. During the festivals the worship places of the Sikhs the Gurdwaras are illuminated and adorned with flowers, flags and banners. The big day commences with the sinning of the morning hymns known as the Asadi Var. These are followed by the Keertas the musical recital of the hymns from Guru Granth. In the end lectures on Sikhism called Kathas are delivered and poems praising Guru Nanak are also recited.

GURU NANAK-01A lunch organized by volunteers is served in the afternoon. The recitation of hymns continues till evening and the festivities usually end with a display of fireworks.

August 14, Independence Day of Pakistan

August 14, Independence Day of Pakistan

August 14, Independence Day of Pakistan

Every year on August 14th, Pakistan celebrates its independence day from the British Rule. It is also known as the “Yom-e-Istiqlal”. Just like any independence day in the world, August 14th is a national holiday in Pakistan. Throughout the country, this day is celebrated with flag raising ceremonies, fireworks, and tributes to the national heroes. These celebrations take place in Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan. In the course of the event, the Prime Minister and President of the country raise the national flag at the Parliament and Presidential Buildings, and they deliver  speeches that are televised on national TV. The speeches highlight the government’s achievements, as well as its goals for the future.
The August 14th Independence day of Pakistan brings to mind the words of “Quaid-e-Azam”, who is the father of the nation. His words highlight bringing discipline, faith, and unity to the people of Pakistan. It was in the year 1947, on August 14th, that Independence Day of Pakistan was officially announced.
Part of the Independence Day celebration in Pakistan is the lighting of candles at midnight by students. This is to bring hope and luck for the future. Cultural programs and activities also take place in different provincial capitals of the country most particularly in the colleges and schools. Friends and families gather for outings, lunches or dinner during the celebration. Competitions and entertainment programs are held among societies, cultural centers, and even housing colonies for the observance of the special holiday.

Five Popular Sports Festivals

Five Popular Sports Festivals, BasantVarious sports festivals are celebrated throughout the world but only five are considered popular to many people. Among these are the Kite Festival in Pakistan, the Tour de France Festival in France, the Tibet Horse Festival in Tibet, the Nadaam Festival in Mongolia, and the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in the USA.

The Kite Festival in Lahore, Pakistan is celebrated during spring season. In this festival, people stayed on their rooftops for the traditional kite flying. The festival is celebrated for five days as thousands of kites litter the skies. It is participated by various kite fighters both amateur and professional. Five Popular Sports FestivalsDuring the event, kite fighters try to cut and snag each other’s kites down.

The Tour de France is a festival celebrated throughout France. It is a 23-day tour that starts from the borders of the country and finishes in Paris. This festival is not only one of the popular sports festivals in the world but also the hardest one. Its tour usually covers more than 3,500 kilometers of the most grueling terrains and mountainous areas in the country. The tour is divided in segments or stages for the participants.

Five Popular Sports Festivals

The Tibet Horse Festival is held every August in Tibet. In this festival, thousands of herdsmen participate in an archery and horse race contests as they dress themselves in outfits as well as their horses in fineries.

The Nadaam Festival in Mongolia takes place in July. It is an annual celebration held across the country Five Popular Sports Festivalsreminiscing the manly sports of horseback racing, archery, and wrestling. It is a three-day event with traditional dancing and parades prior the beginning of the sports event.

The Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta in USA is a colorful hot air balloon festival held every October during fall season. It is Five Popular Sports Festivalsa nine-day even where more than 750 balloons are flown to the skies. It is also the most photographed and largest event in the world.