Fairs & Festivals

Muslim Festivals


Eid al-FitrEid al-Fitr takes place on the first day of the tenth month of the Islamic lunar calendar and celebrates the end of Ramadan. Ramadan is the time of fasting that continues throughout the ninth month. On this day, after a month of fasting, Muslims express their joy and happiness by offering a congregational prayer in the mosques. Special celebration meals are served.

The festival is celebrated in Punjab, Pakistan. It is also celebrated in Malerkotla (Punjab, India) which has a sizable Muslim population where Sikhs and Hindus also participate in the observance.

Eid ul-Adha

Eid-ul-AzhaEid ul-Adha is also known as Eid-ul-Azha. The festival is celebrated on the tenth day of the last Islamic month of Zilhij. Eid-ul-Azha occurs about two months after Eid-ul-Fitr. Eid-ul-Azha is celebrated to commemorate the occasion when the prophet Abraham was ready to sacrifice his son, Ismail, on God’s command. Abraham was awarded by God by replacing Ismail with a goat. Muslims make pilgrimage (hajj) to Mecca during this time.

Animal sacrifice is a tradition offered by Muslims on this day. Special markets are set up to deal with the increase in demand of animals. Cattle markets are set up in places such as Multan, (Punjab, Pakistan) and goat markets in Ludhiana, (Punjab, India). The children celebrate Eid ul-Adha and Eid ul-Fitr with great pump and show and receive gifts and Eidi (money) from parents and others.


Eid-e-Miladun-NabiEid-e-Milad-un- Nabi is an Islamic festival which is celebrated in honor of the birth-day of Prophet Muhammad. The festival is observed in the third month of the Islamic lunar calendar called Rabi’al-Awal. The festival was declared a national holiday in Pakistan in 1949.

People of Pakistan engage in decorating Mosques, streets and houses with green flags and lights. According to Khalid, children, teenagers and young adults decorate their Pahari (mountain) of all sorts of toys, including cars, stereos, and numerous other commodities. Within various places of Lahore, there are numerous stalls. Before the festival became a celebratory day, people used to celebrate the day quietly. However, the first procession to mark the day was led from Delhi gate in Lahore in 1935. This tradition then became popular elsewhere. Processions are also taken out in Bathinda (Punjab, India).

Muharram (Ashura)

AshuraRemembrance of Muharram is a set of rituals associated with Shia, which takes place in Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar. Many of the events associated with the ritual take place in congregation halls known as Hussainia. The event marks the anniversary of the Battle of Karbala when Imam Hussein ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, was killed by the forces of the second Umayyad caliph Yazid at Karbala. Family members, accompanying Hussein ibn Ali, were killed or subjected to humiliation.

The commemoration of the event during yearly mourning season, from first of Muharram to twentieth of Safar with Ashura comprising the focal date, serves to define Shia communal identity.

Mela Chiraghan or Mela Shalimar (“Festival of Lights”)

Mela-ChiraghanIt is a three-day annual festival to mark the urs (death anniversary) of the Punjabi poet and Sufi saint Shah Hussain (1538-1599) who lived in Lahore in the 16th century. It takes place at the shrine of Shah Hussain in Baghbanpura, on the outskirts of Lahore, Pakistan, adjacent to the Shalimar Gardens. The festival also used to take place in the Shalimar Gardens, until President Ayub Khan ordered against it in 1958.

The festival used to be the largest festival in the Punjab, but now comes second to Basant. Common peasants, Mughal rulers, the Punjabi Sikh residents and even the British officers during their British Raj used to show up at this festival. Maharaja Ranjeet Singh (13 Nov 1780-27 June 1839) had high respect for this 16th century Sufi saint Shah Hussain. In the early half of the 19th century, during the Sikh ruling period in Punjab, Maharaja Ranjeet Singh used to lead a procession from the Lahore Fort to this festival site.

Culture & Heritage Festivals

Shandur Polo Festival

Shandur PoloThe initiation of Polo in Shandur is credited to the balti raja of Skardu; Ali Sher Khan Anchan who built the polo ground of Shandur as well. while some think that The initiation of Polo in Shandur is credited to the British occupiers who made possible the building of the polo ground. It is said that in 1935, UK Administrator for Northern Areas Evelyn Hey Cobb ordered Niat Qabool Hayat Kakakhel to make a well-constructed polo ground in Shandur. He constructed a polo ground with the help of the people. This polo ground was later on named as “Mas Junali”. The word “Mass Junali” is derived from Khowar language. The word “Mas” means moon and “Junali” means polo ground. Cobb was impressed by Kakakhail’s resourcefulness and efficiency and wished to reward him for his service, but Kakakhail refused to accept any reward for his work. Instead, for the common benefit, Kakakhail asked Cobb to bring trout to stock the local streams. Cobb ordered live trout from England and dropped them into the River Ghizer. Due to this little service, Directorate of Fisheries had been established and hundreds of people got employed. Now the weight of those fishes in Hundarap Lake cross 24 kg and in Baha Lake Khukush Nallah, their weight crossed 40 kg.

So Mas Junali became a source of relation between the people of Chitral District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and neighbouring Gilgit-Baltistan. Now Shandur Polo Festival opens a door step to the people of the world to enjoy their selves. Many of the people from entire world come here to watch polo match played between Chitral District and Ghizer District.

Kalam Festival

Kalam-fesitvalKalam festival, kalam mela or Swat Summer festival is a cultural and recreational event, held every year in the month of July or August in the scenic valley of Kalam and Mahodand, 100 kilometers from Swat city, Pakistan. The festival is arranged in the pattern of Shandur Polo festival. The days, when plan areas of Pakistan are hot and humid, tourists are enjoying cold weather in Kalam and the tent village Mahudand. The festival is organized by Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Tourism Department in collaboration with the Pakistan Army. Sports, cultural and recreational activities are arranged during the week.

Silk Route Festival

Silk-Route-FestivalFestival on the Roof of the world where natural environs, landscape, privileged location in the highest mountains of the world, breathtaking spectacles of sheer scenic beauty, wildlife and nature, awe-inspiring snow peaks, glittering glaciers, serene valleys of lush green foliage and fruits, gleaming and scintillating streams of unpolluted water, rich diversity of people, culture, folklore, arts, crafts and heritage, await you.

Highlights Of The Festival
Artisans-at-work (Gilgit, Karimabad & Skardu) – Master artisans from remote parts of Northern areas will be at work in beautifully designed and documented pavilions. Folkloric Song & Dance Ensembles (Gilgit, Aliabad, Gulmit, Karimabad & Skardu) – Folk dancers and musicians from all parts of Northern Areas including Dance, Song Ensembles from the neighboring Xinjiang Province of China and Central Asia will be invited to entertain visitors to the festival.

Folk Music Groups – Small open air stages will be set up at the festival grounds in the different cities to present folk musicians from all over the Northern areas.
Exotic Craft Bazaar – Exotic local bazaars will be held including Sunday & Friday markets for the local communities where people can sell, exchange or exhibit local produce, offering endless variety of cottage crafts, Knickknacks, flea-market, etc.