Fairs are celebrated everywhere in the world, sometimes to commemorate a special event or seasonal change. This fair, held in the small but historic town of Sibi. It is 163 Kms, 3 hours drive, to the south east of Quetta at the mouth of the famous Bolan Pass. Since the 15th century, this town has been the meeting place of all the tribal chiefs of the area.
Opinions of historians about the beginnings of Sibi celebrations vary. Some link it with the remains of the barter system, when Sibi was the centre of business for the traders dealing with the nomadic Baloch tribes. The tribesmen had to spend their winters in the plains of Kachhi and Sindh, and return to Sarawan and Khurasan in the months of February and March. Before leaving Sibi for another season, they would make purchases on a large scale in return for livestock, which would be of great benefit for the traders.
SIBI MELA is where tribesmen flock from all over Baluchistan, parts of Sind, and Punjab with their animals to trade. The salient features of this “Mela” are horse and cattle and cultural shows, tent pegging, camel races, animal markets, and exhibitions of handicrafts, tribal dresses, and folk dances.
Britishers quote in 1885 that a horse fair was first held at Sibi in the month of February, which was fully availed by them during the Afghan war. Whatever the hypothesis, the Sibi Mela provided a greater opportunity for people to get together. The increasing number of games and events inspired the interest of the common masses into the festivals of Sibi. The cooperation of the people of the adjoining areas in the sale and purchase of cattle was also vitally important in its organization.