Basant Kite Festival (Punjab)

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Basant
Pairs kites.jpg
Official name Basant Panchami
Observed by All faiths
Liturgical Color Yellow
Observances Kite flying. Eating sweet dishes. Decorating homes with yellow flowers.
Date Magha Shukla Panchami
2016 date 13 February 2016 Punjab region between Jan-Feb
2017 date 1 February 2017 Punjab region between Jan-Feb

The Basant Kite Festival of Punjab has been a historic spring time kite flying event during the Basant Panchami festival in the Punjab region in India and Pakistan.[1] It falls on Basant, also called Basant Panchami Punjabi: ਬਸੰਤ ਪੰਚਮੀ; Urdu: بسنت پنچمی; Hindi: बसन्त पञ्चमी) and Vasant Panchami). According to the Punjabi calendar it is held on the fifth day of lunar month of Magha (in late January or early February) marking the start of spring.

Central/Majha Punjab (India)[edit]

Amritsar, Lahore, and Kasur are the traditional areas where kite flying festivals are held.[2] A popular Basant Mela is held in Lahore (see Festivals of Lahore). However, the festival has also been traditionally celebrated in areas such as Sialkot, Gujranwala and Gurdaspur.

Historically, Maharaja Ranjit Singh held an annual Basant fair and introduced kite flying as a regular feature of the fairs held during the 19th[3] century which included holding fairs at Sufi shrines.[4] Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his queen Moran would dress in yellow and fly kites on Basant.[5] The association of kite flying with Basant soon became a Punjabi tradition with the centre in Lahore which remains the regional hub of the festival throughout the Punjab region.[6] Indeed, Maharaja Ranjit Singh held a darbar or court in Lahore on Basant which lasted ten days during which time soldiers would dress in yellow and show their military prowess.[7] Other traditions of the Basant in Lahore included women swaying on swings and singing.[8]

Malwa, Punjab, India[edit]

The festival of Basant is celebrated across Malwa, Punjab[9] where people organize gatherings to fly kites. In areas such as Firozpur, children generally fly kites to mark the auspicious occasion. A large fair is organised on the day of Basant Panchmi in the Shiva temple of Bansari and Gudri which is located in Dhuri, Sangrur district. The fair includes swings, rides and food.[10]

Punjab, Pakistan[edit]

The ban on kite flying around the festival period in Pakistan imposed due to use of dangerous, life-threatening substances in the strings, was set to be lifted to enable celebrations to take place in 2017.[11] But as of 7 February 2017, the ban will continue.[12]

In North India, and in the Punjab province of Pakistan, Basant is considered to be a seasonal festival and is celebrated as a spring festival of kites.[13] The festival marks the commencement of the spring season. In the Punjab region (including the Punjab province of Pakistan), Basant Panchami has been a long established tradition of flying kites[14] and holding fairs.

Pothohar Plateau[edit]

Basant is celebrated in Ralwalpindi, Pakistan with the flying of kites.[15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Chapter iii". Punjabrevenue.nic.in. 1930. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  2. ^ Kaul, Suvir (2001) The Partitions of Memory: The Afterlife of the Division of India [1]
  3. ^ Camille Mirepoix (1967) Now Pakistan
  4. ^ Ansari, Shahab (26 March 2011) The News Festival of Lights kicks off
  5. ^ Hasan, Masudul. Unique Women of the World: Being Unique Stories of the Sidelights of the Lives, Loves, and Mysteries of Famous Women of All Times, All the World Over [2]
  6. ^ Desai, Nikita (2010) A Different Freedom: Kite Flying in Western India; Culture and Tradition. Cambridge Scholars Publishing [3]
  7. ^ The Sikh Courier International, Volumes 33-37
  8. ^ Rumi, Raza (10.03.2009) The history of Basant. Lahore Nama
  9. ^ "The Tribune, Chandigarh, India - Bathinda Edition". Tribuneindia.com. Retrieved 2014-02-17. 
  10. ^ Basant Mela 2015
  11. ^ DND.com (02.01.2017) Basant to be celebrated in Lahore after security clearance: Minister [4]
  12. ^ PT (07.02.2017) Punjab govt says ‘NO’ to Basant festival[5]
  13. ^ The Sikh World: An Encyclopedia Survey of Sikh Religion and Culture: Ramesh Chander Dogra and Urmila Dogra; ISBN 81-7476-443-7
  14. ^ Punjabiat: The Cultural Heritage and Ethos of the People of Punjab: Jasbir Singh Khurana
  15. ^ Aamir Yasin and Mohammad Asghar (14.03.2015) Pindi says ‘Bo Kata’ to kite-flying ban [6]