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CULTURE OF PAKISTAN
The society and culture of Pakistan comprises numerous diverse cultures and ethnic groups: the Punjabis, Kashmiris, and Sindhis in east, Muhajirs, Makrani in the south; Baloch and Pashtun in the west; and the ancient Dardic, Wakhi and Burusho communities in the north. These Pakistani cultures have been greatly influenced by many of the surrounding countries' cultures, such as the Turkic peoples, Persian, Afghan, and Indians of South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East.
Pakistan has a cultural and ethnic background going back to the Indus Valley Civilization, which existed from 28001800 B.C., and was remarkable for its ordered cities, advanced sanitation, excellent roads, and uniquely structured society. Pakistan has been invaded many times in the past, and has been occupied and settled by many different peoples, each of whom have left their imprint on the current inhabitants of the country. Some of the largest groups were the 'Aryans', Greeks, Scythians, Persians, White Huns, Arabs, Turks, Mongols, Afghans, Buddhists and other Eurasian groups, up to and including the British, who left in the late 1940s.
Pakistani society is largely multilingual, multi-ethnic and multicultural. The newly born Pakistan had to have a sub continental leaning, having been a part of for last 5000 years of its civilization. However, the Indus Valley, present day Pakistan, culture was different from the rest of North India or South India. (Quoted Pakistans Identity, History and Culture, from the famous book Gwadar on the Global Chessboard by Nadir Mir).
Pakistani literature originates from when Pakistan gained its nationhood as a sovereign state in 1947. The common and shared tradition of Urdu literature and English literature of South Asia was inherited by the new state. Over a period of time, a body of literature unique to Pakistan has emerged in nearly all major Pakistani languages, including Urdu, English, Punjabi, Pushto, Seraiki, Balochi, and Sindhi.
Poetry is a highly respected art and profession in Pakistan. The pre-eminent form of poetry in Pakistan almost always originates in Persian, due in part to the long standing affiliation the region had with the Persian Empire. The enthusiasm for poetry exists at a regional level as well, with nearly all of Pakistan's provincial languages continuing the legacy. Since the independence of the country in 1947 and establishment of Urdu as the national language, poetry is written in that language as well. The Urdu language has a rich tradition of poetry and includes the famous poets Dr Allama Iqbal national poet, Mirza Ghalib, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Ahmad Faraz, Jazib Qureshi and Ahmad Nadeem Qasimi. Apart from Urdu poetry, Pakistani poetry also has blends of other regional languages. Balochi, Sindhi, Punjabi, Seraiki, and Pashto poetry have all incorporated and influenced Pakistani poetry. Poetry in the form of marsia Salam and naath is also very popular among many Pakistanis.
Pakistani music is represented by a wide variety of forms. It ranges from traditional styles such as Qawwali and Ghazal to more modern forms that fuse traditional Pakistani music with Western music. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan was internationally renowned for creating a form of music which synchronized Qawwali with western music. Popular forms of music also prevail, the most notable being film music and Urdu and Punjabi pop music. There are also the diverse traditions of folk music, as well as modern styles, with rock bands such as Call being recognized internationally. Music Stars of Pakistan are Noor Jaha, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan.
Folk dances are still popular in Pakistan and vary according to region such as:
Luddi - Punjab
Sammi - Punjab
Dhammal - Performed at Sufi shrines/ dargahs in Punjab and Sindh
Attan - Folk dance of Pashtuns tribes of Pakistan including the unique styles of Quetta and Waziristan
Khattak Dance - Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
Chitrali Dance - Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
Jhumar - Siraiki and Balochi folk dance
Ho Jamalo Sindhi dance
Lewa - Balochi folk dance
Drama and theatre:
These are very similar to stage plays in theatres. They are performed by well-known actors and actresses in the Lollywood industry. The dramas and plays deal with many themes from life events, often with a humorous touch. Pakistani poetry is the best.
Recreation and sports:
The official national sport of Pakistan is field hockey with squash and cricket also very popular. The national cricket team has won the Cricket World Cup once (in 1992), were runners-up once (in 1999), and co-hosted the games twice (in 1987 and 1996). Additionally, they have also won the ICC World Twenty20 once (in 2009), and were runners-up (in 2007). The team has also won the Australasia Cup in 1986, 1990, and 1994.
At an international level, Pakistan has competed many times at the Summer Olympics in field hockey, boxing, athletics, swimming, and shooting. Hockey is the sport in which Pakistan has been most successful at the Olympics, with three gold medals (1960, 1968, and 1984). Pakistan has also won the Hockey World Cup four times (1971, 1978, 1982, and 1994). Pakistan has hosted several international competitions, including the South Asian Federation Games in 1989 and 2004.
A1 Grand Prix racing is also becoming popular with the entry of a Pakistani team in the 2005 season. The Tour de Pakistan, modeled on the Tour de France, is an annual cycling competition that covers the length and breadth of Pakistan. Recently, football has grown in popularity across the country, where traditionally it had been played almost exclusively in the western province of Balochistan. Fifa has recently teamed up with the government to bring football closer to the northern areas too.
Culinary art in Pakistan comprises a mix of Middle Eastern, Iranian, Afghan, north west Indian, and Turkish cuisine that reflects the country's history as well as the variation of cooking practices from across the surrounding regions. Urban centers of the country offer an amalgamation of recipes from all parts of the country, while food with specific local ingredients and tastes is available in rural areas and villages. Besides the main dishes of salan, with or without meat and cooked with vegetables or lentils, there are a number of provincial specialties such as karahi, biryani and tikka, in various forms and flavors, eaten alongside a variety of breads such as naan, chapati and roti.
There are also local forms of grilled meat or kebabs, desserts, and a variety of hot and cold drinks.
The holiest month of the Islamic Calendar, which is a month of fasting from sunrise to sunset and self discipline, it is widely observed in Pakistan. Muslim Pakistanis (about 97% of the population) fast, attend mosques with increased frequency, and recite Quran. Special foods are cooked in greater quantities, parties are held, and special accommodation is made by workplaces and educational institutes.
It occurs after the Islamic month of Ramadan. Chand Raat occurs the night before Eid day celebrations commence, marking the end of the month of Ramadan. In the night known as Chand Raat, people celebrate by various means, such as girls putting henna on their hands. People buy gifts and sweets that will be given to friends and families who come over to celebrate the end of Ramadan. The streets, major building and landmarks, even outside of malls and plazas, put on displays of elaborate decorations and colorful light shows. There are large crowds in the city center to celebrate the beginning of Eid, and it is usually a boom time for business.
The two Eids, Eid ul-Fitr and Eid ul-Adha, commemorate the passing of the month of fasting, Ramadan, and the willingness of Ibrahim to sacrifice his son Ishmael for God. On these days, there are national holidays and many festivals and events take place to celebrate Eid. As Pakistan is a Muslim state, there are three days off for all businesses and government offices.
On the night before Eid, people search for the new moon to mark the end of Ramadan and arrival of Eid ul-Fitr. The day starts with morning prayers, then returning home for a large breakfast with family members. The day is spent visiting relatives and friends and sharing gifts and sweets with everyone. During the evening people hit the town for some partying, going to restaurants or relaxing in city parks.
On Eid ul-Fitr, money is given for charity and as gifts to young children.
On Eid ul-Adha, people may also distribute meat to relatives and neighbors and donate food for charity.
Milaad un Nabi:
Milaad un Nabi is a known religious festival which is celebrated in many parts of Pakistan. The Milaad is the celebration for the birthday of the Islamic prophet Hazrat Muhammad (SAW).
In Pakistan, the first ten days of Muharram are observed officially. The 10th day of Muharram is marked in the memory of Imam Hussain (Aliahsalam), the grandson of Muhammad, who was a martyr, along with 72 family members, friends and followers during the Battle of Karbala.
Jashn-e-Baharan, also referred to as Basant, is a pre-Islamic Punjabi festival that marks the coming of spring. Celebrations in Pakistan are centered in Lahore and people from all over the country and abroad come to the city for the annual festivities. Kite flying competitions take place all over the city's rooftops during Basant (now prohibited). The fertile province of Punjab was intimately tied via its agriculture to the different seasons of the year. The arrival of spring was an important event for all farmers and was welcomed with a celebration, hence the name Jashn (celebration) Baharan (spring).
On August 14, the people of Pakistan celebrate the day Pakistan gained its independence from British India and formed an independent state for Muslims. However, one-third of the Muslims decided to remain in India. There are many celebrations all over the country, with people singing and dancing in the streets. Concerts are held with many pop and classical singers. Parades are held in the capital city (Islamabad). Many people decorate their houses and fly the flag of Pakistan. At night, fireworks are used in many cities. Many people pray for the country and reflect on their pride in the country of Pakistan.
Defense Day Parade:
September 6 is another patriotic day, when the Army of Pakistan is put on display for the general public to show Pakistan arms. All Government officials attend the ceremony and medals and recognitions are awarded to special people for their work. In March 2007, the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) put on display the new joint manufactured Chinese-Pakistani aircraft called the JF-17 Thunder.
The national dress of Pakistan is Shalwar Qameez for both men and women. It consists of a long, loose fitting tunic with very baggy trousers. The dress is believed to be an amalgamation of the dresses worn by the ancient Persians, and Mughal Empire who have left their impression on the people and culture of Pakistan.
The men's version consists of solid, masculine colors, and is almost always accompanied by a collar and buttons (similar to a polo shirt). Men often wear an outer waistcoat over the shalwar kameez. The women's version almost never contains collar and buttons but is often embroidered and consists of feminine colors and may feature lace or flower patterns.
In the summer, a light, cotton version is often worn, while during the winter, a heavier, wool version is worn.
The sherwani or achkan with karakul hat is the recommended dress for male government employees and officials, as it is not specifically associated with any of the provinces. Most male government officials wear the formal black sherwani on state occasions.
Pakistanis have evolved an often distinct and unique set of culture, traditions and customs in the region. Shalwar Qameez is the dress commonly worn, both by men and Kashmiris, etc. put and dances are distinctly unique with their own melodies, instruments, patterns and styles. Pakistani arts in metal work, tiles, furniture, rugs, designs/paintings, literature, calligraphy, etc. are diverse and renowned internationally. Pakistani architecture is unique with its infusion of Islamic, Persian, Turkish and Indigenous styles. The manners and lifestyles are guided by a blend traditions as well as culture. Food dishes are also attracting quite a lot of attention with its wide blend of flavors and spices.
Last edited by Predator; Friday, October 21, 2011 at 06:48 PM.