The kite flying spring festival of Basant will be on in Lahore from February 21 till March 5.
Heralding the arrival of spring, the roof tops and open terraces of buildings will soon be flush with people flying kites and, more to the point, making merry with music, food and drink.
Lahore’s Old City is a favourite venue and it is here that visitors from all corners of Lahore and from outside the city throng.
Yellow is the colour of Basant and it is almost mandatory, for women, especially, to display some sign of it in their dress code.
Then it is on to a battle of kites from dusk to dawn as ardent and adept kite flyers fight to cut the strings of others.
The kites are of different shapes, sizes and the sky is set alight with a plethora of bright colours during the day.
Ground glass coats the kite strings to cut down the kites of rivals, and excitement reaches fever pitch when a rival kite is cut to float down wherever the breeze directs.
Poor children rush to claim the treasured prize and fights often ensue when one finds the end of the string and another grabs the kite.
The city exudes colour, with all entry points including the airport, the railway station, the Ravi Bridge and the Motorway toll brightly decorated.
The food streets in Gowalmandi and Old Anarkali are central points of convergence for spectators.
Though kite flying is the main feature of the festival, there are impressive displays of floats down the Lahore’s central canal, bands, folk dances, traditional food stalls in the public parks and free music programmes presented at various venues.
Above and beyond this, a kite flying competition for film artistes a dog show and a flower arrangement competition are often held at Jilani Park.
The festival closes with a parade which starts near the Qadafi Stadium and concludes again at Jilani Park, where a music programme is presented. School bands, skaters, cyclists, folk dancers and people attired in the different traditional dresses of Punjab participate in the parade that marks the approach of spring and the joy of living.