By Hira Nauman

Every country has its own climate and the seasons of a country depend on it. Pakistan is blessed with four seasons. i.e. Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring. Every season has its own beauty and gifts. But spring is “The Queen of the Seasons”. It is also known as season of peace, joy, happiness and colours. It has its own charms making it different from other seasons, and it comes after winters. The duration of spring in Pakistan is from February to April. The weather in spring is moderate neither too hot nor too cold. The chillness of the earth gains the warmth of the sun.

During spring, there is greenery everywhere; the plants start growing and blooming beautiful flowers and bearing fruits. The fields get greener and there are colours everywhere. The animals and insects welcome spring by returning from their winter sleep. The birds start chirping and twittering. To add to the beauty, the nightingale starts singing. The government and other institutes participates in enhancing the beauty of the season by decorating Lahore Canal, green belts on either sides of the roads and other places of the cities. The people step out from their homes, wearing lighter clothes, visit different places with their friends and families. Different sports competitions are organized by educational institutions during spring for the students in which they participate enthusiastically. Different exhibitions and cultural festivals related to spring are also organized in which different flowers like: roses, jasmine, marigold, sunflower etc are displayed, and people amused and praise Allah for His Blessings, kids run after butterflies, people eat from different food stalls and do shopping.

One of the biggest spring festival celebrated in Pakistan was “Basant (Kite Flying) or Jashan e Bahaaraan”. Basant is celebrated in other countries of the world as well like India, Saudia Arab etc. But by origin it’s a festival of Punjab. People wait for this festival whole year. Lahore is favorite for its celebrations. People from all over the country and from abroad visit Lahore to celebrate the kite flying festival.  It was equally famous among all age groups. Girls used to wear yellow dresses, different foods were prepared, families gather, roofs of the hotels and houses of inner Lahore (walled city) were booked. The celebrations used to begin from the night before and finish at the end of the next day. The sky got full of multicolored kites of different designs, sizes and search lights. People were seen playing music on their roofs whole day and night, and engaged in kite cutting competitions. It was a dear festival to almost everyone and people used to wait for the festival whole year and spend happily on the purchase of kites, strings (dor) used for flying kites and other arrangements.

Provincial Government used to spend a lot on this festival. It was a source of great tourism for Pakistan. But unfortunately, this festival is no longer celebrated in Pakistan. One of the major reasons is the use of “Chemical Thread” (Chemical dor) for kite cutting which is strictly banned in the country because of its harmful effects and it had cost many lives in the past. Despite the ban and government efforts people were secretly involved in the making and buying, selling of this killer product. As a result, government had to ban the festival completely to avoid further human loss.

On the contrary, Basant festival was always condemned by some Muslim scholars. According to them, it is Hindu festival and celebrated in the memory of a Hindu Hakeekat Rai Bakhmal Puri while others claim, it is only celebrated to welcome spring.

“Jashan e Baharan” festival is celebrated in “Jilani Park” Lahore (previously known as Race Course Park) from a very long time. It is more of a tradition of the Park. In which multicoloured flowers of different types and sizes are exhibited for general public, horse riding, camel riding, play areas, stalls of different delicious cuisines, clothes, arts, shoes etc are also exhibited. People from around the country visit the park with their friends and families and enjoy the festival by shopping, playing, riding and participating in other activities. Other parks like Safari Park, Zoo and educational institutes also celebrate the festival by organizing different programs for the people.

All seasons are blessings and have their own beauty and charms but spring brings lots of colors and joys, and hence loved by everyone.

Published in Young Nation on March 19, 2016