Mela Chiraghan

Mela Ciraghan is on one of the Major and biggest events in Lahore after the Urs of Data Ganj Bakhsh (RA) and Baba Farid (RA) of Pakpattan. Mela Chiraghan is also known as Festivals of lights. This festival held every year in March and continuous for three days. The festival celebrates to mark the Urs of Punjabi Sufi poet and Saint Shah Hussain. This festival used to take place every year in the Shalimar Gardens and at the Shrine of Shah Hussain in Baghbanpura. Every year nearly half a million people from every corner of Pakistan and every religion come to attend and enjoy this colorful, cheerful and extravaganza event in Lahore. Joyful people are singing and dancing and cultural dances are performed on stage.  All types of cultural foods are served from gol gappas, sweetmeats, qatlamas, and fruit chaats to bhang-laced papppars and thousands of candles are set in clay pots lamps and lit by disciples. The festivities and handcrafts reflect the folklore and traditional rituals of Punjabi mystics and culture.   Rotating dervishes dance to the tunes of drums and recite Kafis written by Shah Hussain.  Pilgrims sit by a bonfire where by doing so they believe their prayers will be answered and others come and toss candles into the bonfire hoping that their wishes will be granted.  People dance and celebrate throughout the night. On the 1st day of Mela Chiragha, the devotees of Shah Hussain organize a procession after dusk. This occasion is marked by a lot of revelry and merriment. During this occasion, the devotees sing to the beating of drums. The songs and qawalis written by the saint are usually sung. On the last day of Mela Chiragha, only the women visit the shrine of Shah Hussain and perform the holy rituals. Dance and burning of hashish are the other major attractions of Mela Chiragha in Lahore. A large number of foreigners also visit the shrine. The other attraction at the Mela is a huge bonfire created by earthen lamps and candles beside the shrine of Shah Hussain. People carry bundles of candles to burn at the bonfire kept on burning continuously for 72 hours. The devotees never let up extinguishing of this fire, a symbol of inner fire of the saint.

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