By Mawra Batool
Tradition and culture are what make a country unique and different. Every country has its own customs and traditions; from the Cimburijada festival of scrambled eggs in Bosnia to the Tomatina festival in Spain. Pakistan, too, has its own traditions, that have evolved from our journey since 1947. Pakistan's culture is beyond beautiful and this article takes you through every aspect of Pakistan's traditions - read on to discover what makes Pakistan unique!
Pakistan is a Muslim country where Islam is the state religion. About 95% to 98% of the Pakistani community are Muslims. One of the most significant events of most Muslim countries is the Friday prayer. Muslims pray five times a day every day, but the most important prayer of the week is the Friday prayer also known as the “Jummah” prayer or the day of gathering. Muslim men are required to attend Friday prayers in congregation as long as they are able to, whereas women are given the option to pray from home, or at the mosque. When visiting Pakistan, you are likely to hear the soothing echo of the Azaan, the call to prayer, as men and women flock to the Masjids. Pakistan is a country where every religion can find a home. As Quaid-E-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah said: “You are free; you are free to go to your temples. You are free to go to your mosques or to any other places of worship in this State of Pakistan.” Not only are there mosques in Pakistan, but you can also find many churches and temples and other places of worship to accommodate the diverse population. The social etiquette, clothing, food and drinks conform with Islamic principles, but also accommodate the core values of other religions.
Pakistan’s national language is Urdu, however, English is also an official language. Other languages spoken include: Pashto, Punjabi, Balochi, Gujari, Dhatki, Sindhi and many more. There are approximately 74 languages in Pakistan spoken in different parts by different people. The way people greet each other in Pakistan is mainly by saying ‘As- Salam- u- Alaikum' which literally translates to ‘Peace be unto you’ and is representative of Islam being a religion of peace and compassion.
Australia’s national sport is cricket. Japan’s national sport is sumo wrestling. New Zealand's national sport is rugby. What is Pakistan’s? What comes to your mind when you think of sports and Pakistan? If you said cricket then I don’t blame you but shockingly, cricket is not the national sport of Pakistan. Pakistan’s national sport is actually field hockey. The first Pakistani national hockey team was established in 1948 and since its breakthrough in the Summer Olympics in the year 1948, Pakistan has won a tremendous amount of titles with pride. 4 gold medals and 2 silvers at the world cup, 8 gold medals and 3 silvers at the Asian Games, and even 3 gold and 3 silvers at the Summer Olympics. The biggest win would be in 1995 against Nepal where the score was 22-0. Field hockey is our national sport but cricket is the most popular game across the country.
One of the most commonly heard rumour about Pakistan is that the people are unfriendly and that Pakistan is unsafe. However, as a person who visits Pakistan will attest, all these ideas are exaggerated. The media usually shines light on the negative side of countries especially when it comes to Pakistan. When people are asked about Pakistan, they list all the negative ideas but today, we’d like to shine light on our tradition and culture of hospitality. When the sun goes down, the sounds of cars driving around and children laughing and friends hanging out fills the atmosphere. Pakistan is one of the most hospitable countries in the world. People in Pakistan love having people from other countries visit, and make every effort to show the world the real face of the country. People will greet you and will smile at you even if they are going through a really tough time, welcome you with food, drinks, and most of all, love. As a Pakistani, I know who we are. We, despite having gone through countless difficulties, have remained resilient, united and positive and I promise you, that is exactly what you will experience.
Music, dancing and poetry play a large role in our many traditions as well. Hamd, Nasheed, Naat, Qawwali, and Sufi are all form of religious expression. Hamds praise God, while Naats are dedicated to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). We also have other music: from Pop to Punjabi music.
Poetry is one of Pakistan's biggest traditions. Our poetry includes Urdu poetry, English poetry, Kashmiri poetry, Sufi poetry and so on. Not only is it written and published but it is also expressed on the walls around the country and on the back of incredibly colourful trucks and rikshaws. Allama Iqbal, one of Pakistan’s founding fathers, is a world-renowned poet. Along with him, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Ahmed Faraz have written some beautiful Shayari.
When it comes to dance, one of the most famous ones is ‘Bhangra’ which is fast paced and very energetic. It’s a combination of traditional and western dance. Our dances also vary from region to region.
It would be an understatement to say that Pakistanis have huge celebrations. Our celebrations are massive. Whether it is Eid or Independence Day, we make sure to make each event special and enjoyable. Weddings are also hugely celebrated family events. We have an unimaginable amount of wedding traditions and events. A typical Pakistani wedding has at least three main customs which are; Nikkah (signing of a marriage contract), Baraat (the formal marriage event ) and the Walima (the reception).
Pakistan is home to such a rich and beautiful culture and I, as a Pakistani, wish the world could see this beyond the image they have been presented. We hope this article has provided you with a deep insight into how we make life as fun and enjoyable as possible!