Culture of Pakistan

Table of Contents

Pakistani culture is a diverse culture. Many old civilizations have greatly impacted the culture of Pakistan. The beautiful aspect of the Culture of Pakistan is that different cultures like Kashmiri, Gandara(Pashton), Balochi, and Punjabi have merged into it.

Greeks, Iranians, Arabs, Hindus, Afghans Mongols, Sikhs, and Turks ruled this region. This region has been an important part of different empires like the Maurya, Achaemenid Empire, Umayyad Caliphate of Arabs, Mongol Empire, Mughal Empire, Durrani Empire, Sikh Empire, and British Raj. Due to this reason, Pakistani culture is diverse and has properties from some of the oldest civilizations in the world.

CLOTHING AND FASHION

CLOTHING AND FASHION in Pakistan

Shalwar Kameez is the most popular attire in Pakistan. Kurta Shalwar Kameez and Achkan Sherwani are also popular. Clothing in Pakistan is affected by many old civilizations in the region. 

In urban and rural areas, women wear dupatta as part of their dress. Upper-class women in urban areas wear Burqa. In the KPK region, women wear afghani style burqa.

Shalwar Kameez is worn in all provinces like Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Kashmir, and Gilgit Baltistan. Shalwar Kameez has some variations in each region and province of the country.

Punjabi Clothing

Punjabi men and women wear straight-cut Punjabi shalwar kameez. Men in rural also wear dhoti or lungi. Khussa and Peshawari chappal is the most used footwear in the province. Pagri is also used as headwear in both urban and rural areas. Saraiki Turban and Saraiki Kurta are popular in south Punjab.

Along with the shalwar kameez, some women also wear Punjabi Ghagra. Punjabi Ghagra is a traditional dress and is part of a four-piece outfit.

Sindhi Clothing

Men in Sindh wear a Sindhi dress. Kameez in Sindhi dress is called cholo. In Sindh, Sindhi Ajrak and Sindhi caps are very popular and used with traditional dressing. While women wear a lehenga and choli along with suthan and cholo

Balochi Dressing

Balochi people wear Jama, loose shalwar, and long chadar. Pagri, made of cotton cloth, is used as headwear. Shoes narrow at the toe are used as footwear.

Balochi women wear a long frock along with a shalwar. Heavily embroidered shalwar kameez and Balochi duch are also popular dressings among Balochi women.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Dressing

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Dressing

Men in KPK mostly wear Pashtun dresses made of light-lined and loose-fitting. Peshawari chappal is used as footwear. Pakol or turban is commonly used headwear among the men in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Women in KPK wear shalwar kameez. While women in tribal usually wear firaq partug. 

Wedding dresses

Grooms in Punjab usually wear embroidered Kameez with simple shalwar on the first day of marriage (Mehndi). On the second day, the groom wears a sherwani with a traditional sehra. On the third day(walima), usually pent coat is worn in urban areas.

Brides usually wear yellow or orange color kameez with simple shalwar and green dupatta on the first day of marriage. On the second marriage day, the bride wears a special red shalwar kameez.

GASTRONOMY AND CUISINE

Pakistani foods

Pakistan’s Cuisine culture also has roots in different regions like India, Iran, and the Western world. Pakistani people are fond of spicy aromatic foods with ghee. It is part of the social customs of Pakistan to graciously accept tea and refreshments served in social situations.

As most of the population of Pakistan is Muslim, so Islamic culture and traditions have much influence on the eating style of Pakistanis. According to Islamic Sharia, the use of Fork and Alchohl is not common here because they are not halal. The use of other halal animal meats like chicken, goat, camel, cow, lamb, and fish is common. Pakistan tends to eat food on a cloth spread to the floor called dastarkhan in the local language.

Pakistani normally eats food three times a day. For breakfast, Pakistani tend to eat foods like pieces of bread fried in oil, called Paratha, fried eggs, lassi, sheermal with tea or lassi, butter, and jam with bread slices. In Urban areas like Lahore, Nan-chanay, nihari, halwa pori etc.

For lunch, Pakistani eat foods like karahi Ghost, biryani, and gravy made using potato and meat with roti or Naan. The use of salad is also common.

At dinner time, Pakistan loves eating foods like Pulao, kebab, tikka, qeema, etc. The use of tea is also very common in Pakitan. Many Pakistani tend to take tea during each meal of the day. Tea is one of the most used drinks by Pakistani people. 

Pakistanis, especially people from Lahore, are famous for their hospitality. On the arrival of guests, special foods with the use of meat are prepared. Guests are also served tea or cold drinks.

There are also many traditional foods popular in different regions and provinces of the county. For example, in Balochistan, Balochi sajji (skewed lamb, goat, or chicken filled with rice), mutton rosh (mutton chops), and dampukht (slow-cooked recipe made using goat meat and goat fat) are very popular. On the other hand, in KPK, foods like chapli kabab and mutton karahi are very popular.

Over time, many Western foods and restaurants are gaining popularity in Pakistan. Many Pakistanis Tend to go to food streets and restaurants to eat fast food. Burgers, fries, fried chicken, burgers, and pizza are some of Pakistan’s most popular fast food. Many fast food chains exist, like MCDONALD’S, KFC, PIZZA HUT, DOMINO’S, and HARDEES, in the county’s major cities.

ARTS AND CRAFT

ARTS AND CRAFT in Pakistan

Pakistani culture is a diverse culture of many old civilizations. Many rulers ruled this area, and each one gave their traditions to this area. One of the Old civilizations is 5000 years old in this region, known as the Indus Valley civilization. After that, Muslims occupied this region and gave Islamic traditions and architecture to the region. 

Pakistani craftsmen are popular for their crafts skills. According to research, 80% of craftsmen skills are still found in the different areas of Pakistan. Pakistan is among the top exporters’ countries of handmade, craft supplies and handicrafts to top handicraft markets like the United States.

Popular handicrafts of Pakistan include 

  • Ceramics and Pottery
  • Wood Carving 
  • Marble Carvings
  • Khussa 
  • Peshawari Chappal
  • Blue Pottery
  • Camel Lamps
  • Ethnic Jewellery
  • Gems
  • Rilli
  • Pashmina
  • Carpets

Multan is one of the oldest cities in Pakistan. Handicrafts from here are found throughout the world. Popular local crafts of Multan include camel lamps made of camel skin and blue pottery made of ceramic material.

handicrafts in pakistan

Handicrafts from Karachi are also popular in the county. Some of the handicrafts from Karachi include ajrak, handmade jewelry, Sindhi topi, rilli, etc.

Chiniot is another popular place in Pakistan with wooden craftsmen skills. Handmade wooden furniture, wooden pots, and other home decorative items are popular products of local crafters.

Kashmir is another place full of craftsman skills. Local handicrafts like handmade Kashmiri rugs, Kashmiri shawls, and embroidery textiles are popular products from this region.

Along with handicrafts, Pakistani artists are also famous for their beautiful paintings. Many art galleries exist in urban areas of Pakistan where the artwork of artists is displayed. Some popular Art museums and galleries in Pakistan include

  • Abasin Arts Council
  • Alhamra Arts Council
  • Archaeological Museum Umerkot
  • National Art Gallery, Pakistan
  • Faisalabad Arts Council

Language in Pakistan

Languages in Pakistan

According to research conducted in 2016, almost 76 languages are spoken in Pakistan. Urdu is Pakistan’s national and first official language, and around 10% of people in Pakistan speak Urdu. English is the second official language of Pakistan. Along with Urdu, many other languages are widely spoken in Pakistan. Punjabi is the most widely spoken language (around 39% population) in Punjab. Pashto is the second most popular language (16%) and is mostly spoken in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. 14% of Saraiki is spoken in South Punjab and some areas of Sindh.

Sindhi (9.86%) is mostly spoken in Sindh province. At the same time, Bacochi (3%) is the major language of Balochistan province. Further, each language has different types in the area. For example, Saraiki spoken in Sindgh differs from what is spoken in Punjab province.

List of World Heritage Sites in Pakistan

indus valley civilization

Pakistan’s civilization consists of some of the oldest civilizations in the world like

  • 400000 years old civilization of Photohar civilization near Sawan River in Rawalpindi is one of the oldest civilizations in Pakistan
  • Mehar Garh civilization near Dara Bolan in Balochistan is the second oldest civilization, established in 6500 B.C.
  • Mohenjo-Daro, located in Sindh province, is an old city considered to flourish between 1500 to 2500 BCE. It was the first planned city in South Asia and the largest city of the Sindh Valley civilization. 

Other popular world heritage sites from Pakistan consist of Taxila, the Buddhist Ruins of Takht-i-Bahi and Neighbouring City Remains at Sahr-i-Bahlol, Historical Monuments at Makli, Thatta, Fort and Shalimar Gardens in Lahore, and Rohtas Fort.

FESTIVALS

religious festivals in Pakistan

There are different religions, and regional festivals celebrated in Pakistan each year.

Eid ul Fitr

Eid ul Fitr, Eid al-Adha, and Eid-e-Milād-un-Nabī are popular among Islamic festivals. Eid ul Fitr is celebrated at the end of the month of Ramazan. Men, women, and children wear new clothes on this occasion of happiness. The day starts with the offering of prayer after the sun rises. Women prepare sweet dishes like vermicelli at home. In the evening, people visit relatives’ and friends’ homes. Children tend to go to parks and other recreational sites.

Eid al-Adha

Among Islamic festivals, Eid al-Adha is the second most popular event, celebrated on the tenth of Dhu al-Hijjah each year. It is celebrated in honor of Prophet Ibrahim’s sacrifice of his son Ismail on the command of Allah. The day starts with the prayer after the sun rises. After that, people sacrifice goats, sheep, cows, camels,s, etc. Women at home prepare delicious meat foods like karahi, kabab, etc. Relatives are invited to feasts at home and served tasty foods made using meats of animals slaughtered during this Eid.

Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi

Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi, also known as Mawlid, is another important religious festival in Pakistan. It is celebrated on the 12th of Rabi’ al-awwal(3rd month in the Islamic calendar). During this day, there is a public holiday in the whole country. People start preparation for decorations for this day some days before. They decorate their homes, streets, roads, and markets with decorative items. These days china lights are mainly used as decorative objects. People tend to go to bazaars and markets starting in the evening. They serve traditional edible products like Halwa Puri, tikka, haleem& Naan, and Biryani.

Fairs

Fairs, urs, mela

Fairs are an important part of the culture of Pakistan. Mela Chiraghan(also known as Urs of Madhu Lal Hussain) is the most popular fair in Pakistan. It is held yearly at Baghbanpura in Lahor at the shrine of the famous Sufi saint Shah Hussain. During this festival, there is a public holiday in Lahore city. Pilgrims from different parts of the world come to visit here. Candles and lamps are burned with oil. Some pilgrims spin to the beat of drums.

Along with this festival, there were different fairs(Urs) in different parts of the country, especially in the Punjab province. These are held yearly on respective saints like Lal Shahbaz Qalander, Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, and Data Ganj Bakhsh Hajvery shrines. Pilgrims, individually or in the form of groups from different areas, come to these fairs. Here some present specialty clothes with Islamic words to the saint’s grave. They are served with meals.

Shandur Polo Festival

Shandur Polo Festival is a popular cultural festival in Pakistan. It is held each year from the 7th to the 9th of July in the highest polo ground, Shandur, in Ghizer, Gilgit-Baltistan region. The polo matches are held between the different teams from Gilgit-Baltistan and Chitral District. People come from different parts during the event to see the celebrations and matches. Local cultural music and dancing are performed during this occasion.

RELIGION & BELIEFS

RELIGION & BELIEFS of Pakistani people

Islam is the official religion of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Islam is the religion of 96% population of the county. The remaining 4% population practices other religions like Hinduism, Christianity, Ahmadiyya, Sikhism, and others.

Muslims of Pakistan are divided into different sects. Sunny Islam and Shia Islam are two major sects in the county. Sunny comprises around 76-80% of the population. The majority of the county Sunnis belong to the Ḥanafiyyah School of Jurisprudence, the most liberal of the four subsects of Islamic jurisprudence.

Shia Muslims comprise 10-15% of the entire country’s population. Shia Islam has different sects in the county, like Nizari (Aga Khanis), Mustaali, Dawoodi Bohra, Sulaymani, and others.

Hanbali School of Jurisprudence is gaining popularity in Pakistan due to the Wahhabi influence from Saudi Arabia after the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979. The Wahhabi sect is popular in tribal areas of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

Sufism in Pakistan

Sufism or Tasawwuf is also part of the customs of Pakistan. There are shrines located around every village, especially in Punjab—much of Pakistan’s music and poetry.

In Pakistani family culture, men serve as heads of their homes. Men are responsible for accomplishing the expenditures of a home. Women normally work at home and manage household tasks and care for children.

LITERATURE AND PHILOSOPHY

Urdu is the national language of Pakistan. Most of the Pakistan literature presents the Urdu language. Some other popular languages for Pakistan literature are Punjabi, Sindhi, Balochi, Pashto, and Persian.

Allama Iqbal is the national poet in Pakistan. Their motivational poetry and Islamic philosophy written in Urdu and Persian languages have greatly influenced education, politics, and other fields in Pakistan.

Punjabi literature and poetry written by Sufi saints like Bulleh Shah and Waris Shah are popular among Pakistani people, especially in Punjab. Punjab literature by these Sufi saints teaches the lesson of love, peace, serving humanity, etc. 

MEDIA in Pakistan

MEDIA in Pakistan

Pakistan television corporation (PTV) and Pakistan Radio Corporation (PBC) have been popular media channels since the start of the 19th century. After that, many private media and new channels start operating and gaining popularity. 

There exist more than 70 local news media channels. They are the main source of news in the country. Many other international media news channels exist in the country, like BBC. As Pakistani people are generally politically conscious due to this reason, news channels are very popular in the country. Geo News, Express News, Ary News, and 92 News are some of the popular news channels in the country.

Along with news tv channels, entertainment tv channels are also very popular in Pakistan. Women, especially housewives, spend much time watching local Pakistani drama series. Some popular channels for entertainment and drama series include 

  • Geo TV
  • Ary TV
  • Hum TV
  • PTV Home

Along with Dramma, morning shoes are very popular among women. Usually, in these morning shoes, local celebrities are invited to share their opinions and beauty tips. These morning shows also share makeup and health tips for women. These morning shoes and tv dramas greatly impact current Pakistan fashion trends. Women try to follow celebrities’ and actresses’ fashion styles.

After the spreading of wire and wireless, social media has become vital to each Pakistani life in urban and Rural areas. Social media has now become part of Pakistani people’s lives, affecting Pakistani culture. Facebook, Youtube, and TikTok are the most popular social media channels.

Music

Music in Pakistan

Music is gaining popularity with the passage of each day. Pakistani music consists of elements from different cultures and regions like South Asia, the middle east, and the modern Western world.

Coke Studio musical songs these days have gained popularity in the country. Coke Studio remixes old folk songs with modern-day pop music to apparel to the young generation.

Qawwali has been one of the favorite music types of Pakistan for many years. Qawalii is devotional music by Chistis Sufis. It is 700 years old music created by Amir Khusrau in the late 13th century. Early Sufis used Qawwali to spread the message of Islam to locals as they were fond of music then. Some of the most popular Qawwali singers from Pakistan include

  • Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan
  • Sabri Brothers
  • Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
  • Aziz Mian
  • Abida Parveen
  • Sher Miandad

Hamd and Naat are Popular religious music in Pakistan. Hamd is a poetical verse of dignity and praise of Allah. On the other hand, Naat is a poetic verse about the dignity and praise of Prophet Muhammad. Singers sing Hamd and Naat at the start of festivals like Mehfils, wedding ceremonies, fairs, and other Government ceremonies.

Regional music from different regions and provinces is also popular in local areas of Pakistan. Some famous singers in folk music include 

  •  Sain Zahoor and Alam Lohar from Punjab 
  • Abida Parveen, Allan Fakir, and Mai Bhaghi from Sindh, 
  • Akhtar Chanal Zahri from Baluchistan 
  • Zarsanga from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province

Sports

Sports in Pakistan

Pakistan is a nation that loves sports. There are different traditional and international sports played in the country. But Cricket is by far the so popular sport in the country. Every Pakistani has played Cricket at least one time in their life. Pakistani cricket team won the World Cup in 1992 and the world t20 world cup in 2009. Cricket is a game played on almost every street in the country.

Although Hockey is the national game of Pakistan, it is not popular as does in the past. Pakistan’s history in Hockey was tremendous. Pakistan won the hockey world cup titles four times (1971, 1978, 1982, and 1994). Along with the World Cup, the Pakistan hockey team has won 8 Olympic titles in Hockey.

If we talk about traditional games in Pakistan, Kabaddi(Circle style) is the most popular traditional game played in Pakistan. This is especially popular in rural areas of Punjab province.

Pakistan won the last Kabaddi world cup held in 2020 in Pakistan’s Faisalabad and Gujrat cities.

If we talk about the traditional sports of the Sindh province of Pakistan, Malakhra is the most popular game. It is a 5000-year-old game played between two players. Both opponent players tie to hold the waist cloth of each other to throw the opponent player to the ground. Along with Malakhra, tug of war and boxing are the most popular sports in this region.

Hashti is the most popular traditional game in Balochistan, mostly played during summer. It is normally played in open ground under the shade of a tree. This game is played between two groups with 2 players each. Other popular games in Balochistan include Choki, Gabdi, peto garam, Ali Jumbul, and Nogadgi.

In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pash or Gully Danda is one of the most played traditional games in KPK. It is played with the help of two sticks; one is large, around a foot long, while the other is shot around 3 inches. It is played between two teams with a maximum of 6 members each. A player has to move the small stick out of a small circle to live and get the point. Other local traditional games of KPK include Top Dandy, Skhay, Mukkha, Yangolay, and Angai.

Conclusion

I hope you like my detailed article about the culture of Pakistan

Now I’d like to hear what you have to say:

Which aspect of Pakistani culture did you find more interesting?

Also, If you think I have missed any important aspect of Pakistani culture and traditions, Let me know by leaving a comment below.

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