Thursday, March 12, 2015

Celebrating Spring In Culture-Rich Pakistan

Arooj Khalid / youthjournalism.org

The Jashn-e-Baharan Festival, or spring celebration, is underway in Lahore, Pakistan, with food and craft booths, carnival rides and more. Many more photos are in a slideshow below.

By Arooj Khalid
Senior Reporter
LAHORE, Pakistan – The spring season brings happiness, color and celebration to our lives. Attractive flowers of various hues, dancing in the fresh rays of sunlight and the clear blue sky, are bearers of glad tidings.
Even though some parts of the world are still covered in snow and are experiencing harsh winters, it’s the opposite in Lahore, where we are celebrating the arrival of spring with great joy.
Spring is known to be a season of color and joy, but it takes a more exciting form when mixed with Pakistani culture. A Jashn-e-Baharan Festival, which means spring celebration festival, is set up now in Jillani Park in Lahore, for the amusement of visitors and to showcase the culture and traditions of Pakistan.
The entrance is adorned with many artistic and traditional embellishments that heighten curiosity about what might be found inside. There are models of monuments and famous Pakistani attractions that represent the nation as a whole and provide an overview of our national heritage.
Numerous stalls sell or showcase original handicrafts of the country. Some very interesting ones include traditional clothing from different parts of Pakistan, crockery, straw baskets, rugs, and carpets.
Pakistan is rich in culture, as its heritage is drawn from the early age of Indus Valley civilizations and centuries of invaders and rulers in the South-Asian subcontinent. The traditional and folk cultures still prevail and are embraced by all Pakistanis today.
The city of Lahore is famous for food and has difference traditional and exotic food vendors and restaurants at almost every step. Similarly, the spring festival includes a large number of food stalls. A whole area reserved for eating, with benches, tables and chairs, and chaarpais, which are traditional beds, for the visitors.
All kinds of tasty delectable abound, including fast food and traditional dishes. Two favorites are sajji, which is a dish made of chicken stuffed with rice and saag, which is cooked spinach with fresh butter enjoyed with bread made of corn flour called Makki di Roti. It is a common dish among the village fields and rural areas of the Punjab province.
Children of all ages throng the numerous rides and playgrounds, but other attractions demand attention, too.
The bandar wala, or monkey man, is a common figure in the zoo or the streets of cities. He is usually a poor man seeking to earn a living by showing his trained animals, like monkeys and goats, do amazing tricks.
This folk figure is a large part of our culture and everyone’s childhood memories. His animals not only carry out amusing circus tricks, they even dance to folk songs or act out folk tales.
A similar tradition is fortune telling by parrots. The bird chooses a card for the person and the parrot’s owner tells the person’s future through that card. This is one of the oldest superstitions of our culture that continues to amuse people, whether they believe them or not.
In addition, the spring festival includes other interesting offerings, including a circus, many competitions, a horror house, gymnastics show and book stalls. It presents a nice picture of Pakistan and our multi-cultural heritage. It’s a nice way to appreciate our traditions, enjoy the weather and spend some time with our loved ones. 

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