There are many wonderfully exciting festivals in Pakistan throughout the year. Many of them have great cultural significance, like the aptly-named National Culture Festival but some are simply celebrations of live and the natural environment, like Basant, the annual kite festival.
National Cultural Festival
Kicking off the festival calendar in February, the National Cultural Festival is a celebration of Pakistan’s rich and diverse cultures. Organized by the National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage, the festival spans nine days and is filled with a host of cultural activities including everything from traditional music and dance shows to crafts fairs where local craftsman and artisans display their goods. Travelers who are lucky to be in Islamabad during this period are bound to receive a crash course in Pakistan’s culture.
Pakistan Flower Show
Also in February is the annual Pakistan flower show. Held in Karachi at Sea View Park, the flower show displays the best in flowers and plants that the region has to offer. The event is professionally organized by the Horticulture Society of Pakistan and the vibrant colors and decadent aromas are a feast for the senses.
One of the most popular festivals in the country is Basant, the annual kite festival. Held in March in Lahore, the festival takes place to welcome the arrival of spring and wave goodbye to the winter. The skies are filled with amazingly colorful kites and both adults and children have a wonderful time.
Fans of the equestrian sports will be happy with the Shandur Cup, a polo festival which takes place every year in July. Established in 1936, this festival is a Pakistani institution with people from all over the country traveling to the Shandur Pass, between Gilgit and Chitral, to partake in the fun. The world’s highest polo tournament is met with great celebration in the form of musical events and folk dancing.
Taking place every year for a week in September, the Chitral Festival is a celebration of competitive sports in the country. Everything from archery, wrestling and rock climbing to sitar music, dance and the dramatic arts can be seen on display. This ‘Pakistani Olympics’ is extremely popular, with many tour groups placing it at the top on their itineraries.
Lahore Fashion Week
Lahore is the country’s fashion capital which is why it makes sense that the annual Fashion Week is held here. Taking place every October and organized by the Pakistan Fashion Design Council, the event is well-known world wide. The festival has also garnered great attention, mainly as a result of the threats made by extremists who are opposed to it because of the skimpy clothing worn by many models.