Mela Chiraghan is an old and traditional cultural festival of Pakistan and especially of the people of Lahore. The meaning of Mela chiraghan is the festival of lamps or the festival of lights. This festival is celebrated as birth anniversary of a great Sufi saint and poet Hazrat Shah Hussain from decades. He is commonly known as Madho LAL Hussain. Mela chiraghan is in fact Urs of Hazrat Shah Hussain, who was the first poet Punjabi Sufi poet and is also known as the poet of love. Lahorites are celebrating this festival with full zest and zeal every year in March.
The festival is held in Shalimar Bagh or garden and at the shrine of Shah Hussain in Baghbanpura. People from all around the country use to attend this cultural festival and about half million people are enjoying it. This festival is full of traditional and cultural colors and there is no restriction of religion or area. Different spicy and delicious foods are served during the festival like sweets, Gol gappa, Qatlamas and many other traditional foods. The festival lasts for three days and during these days the whole area of Shalimar garden and Tomb of Shah Hussain is decorated with lights.
Another popular thing of the festival is its Bazaar. Initially it was a great shopping area but latter on it become limited to certain things like bangles, goods, edibles, toys and garments. Youngsters perform dance on the beat of drums and devotees sing different kafees and Qwwalis, written by the Sufi saint. The festival is a complete picture of Punjabi culture and rituals. Pilgrims sit around a bonfire with a belief that their prayers will be granted and some other toss candles in bonfire with a belief that their wishes will come true. Many foreigners also visit Pakistan every year on this great festival and enjoy different cultural rituals of Pakistani’s and Punjabi’s.