The Festivals and Events in Pakistan
Cholistan Desert Jeep Rally Organized by the TDCP (Tourism Development Corporation of Punjab), the Cholistan Desert Jeep Rally is an annual off-road race held in the Cholistan Desert. Introduced in 2005, the event features high-speed racing and challenges in the desert venue.
Toyota Gwadar Rally Sponsored by Toyota Indus Motor Company, the Gwadar Rally is a three-day off-road event conducted by the Pakistan Army. Participants face the challenge of conquering the 240km high-speed track with water cuts stretching over Gwadar, Pishukan, Ganz, and Jiwani.
Basant Panchami festival Basant is a springtime kite flying event during the Basant Panchami festival in the Punjab. It falls on Basant, also called Basant Panchami. According to the Punjabi calendar, it is held on the fifth day of the lunar month of Magha (in late January or early February), marking the start of spring.
The International Malam Jabba Ski Tournament takes place at a stunning ski resort nestled in the Hindu Kush range of Swat Valley, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, Pakistan, reaching an impressive elevation of 2,804 meters (9,199 ft). Positioned in Malam Jabba village, it stands 40 kilometres east of Saidu Sharif and 314 kilometres northwest of Islamabad. Renowned as the largest and oldest ski resort in Pakistan, this picturesque destination is set to host the Alpine International Cup, a prestigious international ski tournament, during the last week of January, showcasing the breathtaking beauty of Swat Valley.
The International Naltar Ski Tournament is hosted at a captivating ski resort nestled in the Karakoram range of the Naltar Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan province, Pakistan, boasting a peak elevation of 2,950 meters (9,680 ft). Situated 40 kilometres northwest of Gilgit, this resort serves as a pivotal venue for the Ski Federation of Pakistan and the prestigious Pakistan National Ski Championship. Notably, it also played host to the 2016 Karakoram Alpine Ski Cup, further establishing its significance in the realm of skiing competitions.
Spring Blossom Festival (March 21st – April 21st) aims to draw national and international tourists to GB during the enchanting spring blossom season, establishing a profound link between cultural resources and economic activities. Visitors, including Buddhists from Japan and Korea, flock to GB to witness the mesmerising spring blossoms, reflecting their deep religious sentiments.
Jashan-e-Nowruz (March 21st – 23rd) mirrors the Nowruz celebrations of Iran, Afghanistan, and Central Asia. In Northern Pakistan, particularly Chitral, Gilgit, and Baltistan, Nowruz takes on a socio-religious significance. The festivities commence on March 21 with the Spring Equinox but continue for weeks. In Baltistan, Nowruz traditions include exchanging-coloured eggs and engaging in polo matches. Balochistan celebrates with outdoor feasts and the symbolic act of jumping over a fire, signifying the purification of sins and a fresh start. Rooted in pre-Islamic origins, Nowruz dates back to Pakistan’s time under the Achaemenid and Sassanid Persian empires.
International Silk Route Festival invites you to experience a festival on the Roof of the World, where the natural beauty, landscape, and privileged location in the world’s highest mountains converge. The festival showcases breathtaking spectacles, including snowy peaks, glittering glaciers, lush green valleys, pristine streams, and diverse wildlife. This unexplored discovery awaits you, offering a rich tapestry of people, culture, folklore, arts, crafts, and heritage against the backdrop of the awe-inspiring Himalayas.
The Polo Festival at the world’s second-highest Polo Ground is an annual event featuring Polo teams from Gilgit-Baltistan. The naturally made highest polo ground in Babusar, with a lush green grassy plain for camping, provides an excellent opportunity for tourists during the summer season. The Babusar Polo Cup Festival, held every August, sees Polo teams from Gilgit-Baltistan competing while thousands of tourists enjoy this traditional festival. Organised by the Tourism Department of Gilgit-Baltistan, the Polo festival aims to preserve this traditional sport and attract tourists to the area.
Joshi or Chilimjusht (14-15 May) is the Kalash festival welcoming spring, celebrated in the Kalash Valleys near Chitral. The festival includes folk dances, music, and the exchange of dishes.
Utchal (15-16 July) is a harvest festival celebrated by the Kalash people in Kalash Valleys, Chitral.
Chowmas (18-21 October) is held in Kalash Valleys near Chitral, marking the welcoming of winter with the first snowfall. Activities during this festival are restricted to indoor events.
Lok Virsa…The Folk Festival is the largest cultural activity in Pakistan, taking place annually in October. The National Folk Festival, known as Lok Mela, has gained an international flavour, attracting artisans and performers from over 20 countries. The festival showcases Pakistan’s rich cultural heritage, with beautifully decorated pavilions representing the provinces of Pakistan and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. Artisans at work, music concerts, and dance performances from all parts of Pakistan create an exciting ten-day event in Islamabad.
The National Horse and Cattle Show is one of the most famous annual festivals held in Spring at the Fortress Stadium Lahore. The week-long activities include displays of the finest livestock, horse and camel dances, tent pegging, colourful folk dances from all regions of Pakistan, mass-band displays, and evening tattoo shows.
Mela Chiraghan, also known as the Festival of Lamps, is a significant and popular event celebrated every spring on the last Friday of March outside the Shalimar Gardens. People from all walks of life gather to actively participate in the festival, making it an eloquent expression of Pakistan’s heritage and an authentic account of its agricultural and industrial achievements. The festival takes place at Lahore Fortress Stadium at the end of February or the first week of March.
Eid-ul-Fitr is the most significant Muslim festival celebrated across Pakistan. Occurring after a month of fasting during Ramadan, it takes place on the 1st of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic Calendar. The day starts with special Eid prayers, and people exchange gifts, sweets, and alms to the poor and needy.
Eid-ul-Azha is another major religious festival commemorating the sacrifice offered by Prophet Ibrahim. Celebrated on the 10th of Zilhaj, the 12th month in the Islamic Calendar, collective prayers are offered, and sacrifices of goats, sheep, cows, or camels are made. The meat is then distributed among relatives, friends, and the poor.
Pakistan Day on March 23rd marks the anniversary of Pakistan’s Resolution passed in 1940. Military parades are held in Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta, and Karachi, with the grand parade taking place in Islamabad.
Independence Day, celebrated on the 14th of August, is Pakistan’s National Day. The day features various processions, rallies, decorations, lighting, debating contests, and illustrations all over the country.
The birthday of Allama Iqbal on 9th November is celebrated as the National Poet of Pakistan. The event involves debating and poetry contests held at different institutes throughout the country.
Christmas and the birthday of Quaid-e-Azam, the founder of Pakistan, are celebrated on the same date. These events are observed not only by the Christian minority but also by the entire nation.
Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak (Jayanti) This day commemorates the birth of Guru Nanak in Nanakana Sahib, now located in Pakistan. Sikhs celebrate with large gatherings, lighting candles, divas, and lights in Gurdwaras to honour Guru Nanak, accompanied by fireworks. The celebration typically lasts three days, featuring events such as Akhand Path (a forty-eight-hour non-stop reading of Guru Granth Sahib) two days before the birthday and a procession led by the Panj Pyares and the Palki of Sri Guru Granth Sahib on the day before the birthday.
Sibi Mela Held annually in February in Sibi, Baluchistan, Sibi Mela originated in January 1885 and has evolved into a cultural festival. The event includes animal markets, camel racing, tent pegging, and exhibitions showcasing handicrafts, tribal dresses, and folk dances.