Just like with most parts of the world, the 25th of December is a public holiday in Pakistan.
On this day, most of the country’s residents commemorate Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, but about 5 million out of 162 million Pakistanis celebrate Christmas.
Read on to get an insight into how Christian Pakistanis celebrate Christmas.
As the 25th of December approaches, the Pakistanis arrange seminars to help people prepare for Christmas Day or Bara Din (the big day).
In the last week before Christmas, well-prepared choirs move from house to house singing Christmas carols; this done in areas where the majority of the people are Christians.
After the entertainment, the families show their appreciation by offering gifts to the choir. The collected presents, mostly money, are given to the church and used for charity work around the region.
Christmas Decorations in Pakistan
As Christmas approaches, Christian Pakistanis embellish their homes with decorations and install a star on the roof.
Nativity cribs and Christmas trees are also a critical part of Christmas decorations in the Christian regions of Pakistan.
In some places, you will find nativity scenes comprised of live people and animals, while others are purely modeled into perfection.
There are also crib competitions where different families showcase their skills and creativity in creating the cribs.
On Christmas Eve, a huge procession takes place in Lahore, the capital city of Punjab province. The walk begins at St. Anthony’s church and heads towards the Cathedral for the midnight mass.
During the mass, choirs sing special hymns to welcome the birth of Christ. When the three arms of the clock point at 12, some people light fireworks to mark the beginning of the big day.
People enjoy this special night by dancing and gifting their friends and families.
On the 25th of December, the Pakistanis greet each other Bara Din Mubarak Ho, which means the blessings of Christmas on you.
The Christmas Service
On Christmas, people go to church for the Bara Din service where they read the scriptures, pray and sing psalms and Christmas carols.
They also wear their best colorful clothes and those who can afford it don new attires to commemorate this day.
Some people stay in the churchyard for hours enjoying different delicacies from nearby stalls.
They also celebrate the evening with friends, immediate family, and relatives and enjoy special food together.
Peace Building during Christmas
Angels sang peace on earth when Jesus was born. Pakistanis, therefore, perceive Christmas as an opportunity to preach peace to everyone.
They share cakes, sweets, exchange gifts and invite their neighbors to the party, including their Muslim friends.
Christians also greet anyone who comes their way in a friendly manner and wish them Barra Din Mubarak (happy Christmas)
It’s also customary for Christian organizations like churches to invite Muslim leaders and government officials to the Christmas dinner.
Muslim political delegates also visit Christians with gifts to build peace between the two religions.
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Main Points About Christmas in Pakistan
- In Pakistan, Christmas is not as grand. It is an Islamic dominated country and many of the Christians are quite poor.
- Very often, a big procession takes place during Christmas time and it takes a long time before it ends at the cathedral for the services.
- Christmas preparations start four weeks earlier. People start prepping the treats to be shared.
- Christmas decorations are not customary. Only in a few places like Jesus Town and Catholic Colony (Isa Nagri and Youhanabad) are there obvious displays of the Christmas festivity and decorations.
- On Christmas day, many people go to church and spend time with loved ones over meals and fun-filled activities.
Despite being predominantly an Islamic nation, Pakistan also celebrates Christmas with vigor.
Citizens take this holiday as an opportunity to spend time with friends and family as well as preach peace to their neighbors, including their Muslim brothers and sisters.
Word Cloud for Christmas in Pakistan
The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Christmas in Pakistan. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.
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Chara Yadav holds MBA in Finance. Her goal is to simplify finance-related topics. She has worked in finance for about 25 years. She has held multiple finance and banking classes for business schools and communities. Read more at her bio page.