Lifestyle | Travel

From Eid to Polo: Best Festivals of Pakistan

Apr 5, 2024

Pakistan, a land steeped in rich history and diverse cultures, boasts a vibrant calendar filled with festivals that celebrate faith, tradition, and national pride. Whether you find yourself in the bustling metropolis of Lahore or venturing further afield, experiencing a Pakistani festival offers a unique glimpse into the soul of the nation.

Tapestry of Festivals of Pakistan: A Guide for Travelers

Here, we explore some of the most prominent festivals celebrated across Pakistan, with a special focus on the captivating offerings of Lahore.

Eid al-Fitr

Marking the joyous culmination of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, Eid al-Fitr is a grand celebration observed throughout Pakistan. Cities come alive with dazzling lights and decorations, families gather for elaborate feasts, and children relish the joy of receiving gifts. Mosques overflow with worshippers, and the spirit of charity and compassion permeates the air.

Eid al-Adha

Celebrated approximately 70 days after Eid al-Fitr, Eid al-Adha commemorates Prophet Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God. Muslims traditionally sacrifice an animal, sharing the meat with family, friends, and those less fortunate. Eid al-Adha is a time for strengthening family bonds, offering prayers, and indulging in delicious meals.

Shandur Polo Festival

High in the majestic Himalayas, amidst the breathtaking scenery of Shandur Valley, unfolds the world’s highest polo ground. Every year, between July and August, the Shandur Polo Festival transforms this remote region into a stage for a thrilling sporting spectacle. Teams representing different tribes of Gilgit-Baltistan compete in this unique polo match, drawing crowds eager to witness their horsemanship and sporting spirit.

Independence Day (August 14th)

On August 14th, Pakistan commemorated its independence from British rule in 1947. The national fervor is palpable throughout the country, with Lahore transforming into a sea of green and white, the colors of the Pakistani flag. Flag-hoisting ceremonies, patriotic speeches, cultural performances, and dazzling fireworks displays mark this momentous occasion.

Festivals of Lahore

Lahore, Pakistan’s cultural and historical heart, pulsates with a unique energy during various festivals throughout the year. Here, we delve into some of the most captivating celebrations that color this vibrant city.

Pakistan Day (March 23rd)

Celebrated on March 23rd, Pakistan Day commemorates the Lahore Resolution, a pivotal moment in the nation’s history when Muslims of British India called for an independent Muslim state. Lahore takes center stage, hosting a grand military parade showcasing the country’s defense capabilities. The air resonates with national pride as citizens come together to celebrate their heritage.


Observed on the 15th night of the Islamic month of Sha’ban, Shab-e-Barat, also known as the Night of Forgiveness, is a time for spiritual reflection and seeking blessings. Mosques witness increased prayer offerings, and families gather to pray for the well-being of loved ones, both living and deceased.


Marking the Iranian New Year, Nowruz falls on the spring equinox, usually around March 20th or 21st. Celebrated by Lahore’s sizable community, Nowruz signifies renewal and fresh beginnings. Families gather for special meals, decorate their homes with colorful displays, and exchange gifts, creating a joyous atmosphere.

Urs of Data Ganj Bakhsh

Held annually at the shrine of the revered Sufi saint Data Ganj Bakhsh, the Urs is a three-day celebration that draws thousands of devotees to Lahore. Qawwali performances, devotional music sessions, and the distribution of langar (free food) create a spiritually charged atmosphere. The vibrant decorations and the fervor of the devotees make this a unique cultural experience.

Defence Day (September 6th)

Pakistan commemorates Defence Day on September 6th to pay homage to the sacrifices made by its armed forces during the 1965 war with India. Lahore observes this day with solemn ceremonies and tributes to the martyrs who bravely defended the nation’s borders.

Planning Your Festival Experience

With a little planning, you can easily incorporate a Pakistani festival into your travel itinerary. Here are some helpful tips:


  • Research the Calendar: Check online resources or consult with locals to learn about upcoming festivals before your trip.
  • Consider Location: Some festivals, like the Shandur Polo Festival, have specific locations. Factor this into your travel plans.
  • Book Accommodation in Advance: Popular festivals can lead to a surge in demand for hotels. Book your stay well in advance, especially if traveling to Lahore.

Staying with Nishat Hotels: Your Base for Festival Exploration

Whether you’re drawn to the festive fervor of Lahore or venturing further afield, the Nishat Hotels in Johar Town and Gulberg offer a comfortable and convenient base for exploring Pakistan’s vibrant festivals.

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