Lahore’s Festival of Lights
Mela Chiraghan of Lahore is one of the biggest festivals in the city celebrated every year for 3 days starting on the eve of last friday. Also known as Mela Shalamar, Mela Chiraghan is a festival of lights. On this occasion, the devotees of Shah Hussain gather in the outskirts of Lahore and light lamps to pay reverence to the holy saint. Mela Chiragha commemorates the death anniversary of Shah Hussain – the Punjabi saint and Sufi poet. 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.
Shah Hussain (1538–1599) who ranks with Baba Farid and Bulleh Shah as a Sufi poet has image of the hippy of today. Well-read, highly creative, spiritually evolved and yet indulging in activities that besmeared his image in society. He took to Malamatiya practices and shaved his head, mustaches and beard. He used to take bhang and roam in the bazars of Lahore. He transformed the entire spirit of Punjabi Sufi poetry—from mere philosophical sufism to encompass the whole gamut of a person’s feelings.