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New Year’s Day in Pakistan is celebrated with fervor across a multitude of culturally, ethnically and religiously diverse communities. Many Pakistanis welcome the New Year with celebrations, festivities and prayers.
Ringing in the New Year is cause for celebration, for spending time with friends and family, and for looking back. A lot can happen in a year and between the good, the bad and the ugly, this may seem like an understatement for most.
As glasses are raised and fireworks explode into the sky, it’s important to recognize the special symbolism this holiday brings with it. A time of new beginnings and fresh starts also comes with a time of reflection. Whether your resolutions consist of keeping your hands out of the cookie jar or giving your heartfelt word to work on relationships with loved ones, it can take work. And it can make all the difference to put these hopes into words and warm wishes. Seeing is believing.
New Year’s Day is a national holiday celebrated on January 1st, the first day of the New Year, following both the Gregorian and the Julian calendar. This New Years’ holiday is often marked by fireworks, parades, and reflection upon the last year while looking ahead to the future’s possibilities. Many people celebrate New Year’s in the company of loved ones, involving traditions meant to bring luck and success in the upcoming year. Many Cultures celebrate this happy day in their own unique way.
Typically, the customs and traditions of happy New Years Day involve celebrating with champagne and a variety of different foods. New Years marks a date of newly found happiness and a clean slate. For many celebrating New Years, it is their opportunity to learn from the prior year and make positive changes in their life.
New Year’s Day is an optional holiday. Employment and holiday laws in Pakistan allow employees to choose a limited number of holidays from a list of optional holidays. Some employees may choose to take the day off on this day, however, most offices and businesses remain open.
In the major cities of Pakistan such as Karachi, Lahore, Islamabad, etc., one can witness people having exhilarating celebrations. Preparations for the same begin quite a few days before the big day arrives. Usually, people engage in shopping buy themselves new clothes and household materials, and also fulfilling the unfulfilled wishes of the year. Women clean their houses; prepare special traditional dishes for the family members as well as friends and relatives visiting the houses on the day.
The moment of the arrival of New Year in Pakistan is extremely unique and different from any other place on the planet. With the clock ringing twelve, people celebrating on the streets fire in the air to mark their grand welcome for the New Year. Cities as well as rural parts of the country host cultural festivals, music festivals, modern day New Year parties, and live concerts which help people forget all their past troubles of the past, and move ahead to the new time with smiles and cheers all around.
It is the time of enthusiasm, optimism, and hope for a better, peaceful, and more stable future. Resolutions are made, new aspirations are born, and goals are decided for the coming time. Some major cities in Pakistan also organize fireworks show, which are set off at midnight.
What Do People Do?
New Year celebrations on January 1 widely vary throughout Pakistan. Pakistan is as diverse culturally as it is geographically, so New Year celebrations range from special prayers and religious congregations to private dance parties. Depending on ethnic, cultural, social and religious grounds, people celebrate New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve according to their respective beliefs and value systems.
Pakistan is an Islamic country and also follows the Islamic calendar in addition to the Gregorian calendar. Therefore, the Islamic New Year has a different date to New Year’s Day in the Gregorian calendar. The Islamic New Year’s Day starts with special prayers and sermons in mosques for peace, stability and prosperity in the country. Moreover, other minorities also celebrate their own New Year’s Day with zest.
With Pakistan being a geographically large, with an equally varied cultures and traditions, one can sense a thick line of change in the ways as well as beliefs with which New Year celebrations are made in different provinces and regions of Pakistan. For instance, the Chitral region, which is more of a mountainous region in Pakistan, celebrates New Year as the occasion for harvesting crops of grapes and walnuts.
In their common language, they refer it as the time of ‘Mela Chiragan’ or ‘Basant’. In most of the other parts, which Muslim majority of population, people make a visit the mosques on the day of New Year, and offer prayers to confer them with peaceful and contended time ahead.
With the advent of a global culture, New Year parties, concerts, cultural shows and festivals have become popular in Pakistan. People visit their loved ones; exchange gifts and New Year resolutions are also the order of the day.
Both governmental and non-governmental organizations arrange for New Year dinners, parties, concerts and musical nights. Fireworks and pyrotechnic shows also spread color in the night sky on New Year’s Day. Television and radio stations air specially prepared programs, while newspapers and magazines publish special New Year articles.
A circular published by the interior ministry declares January 1, 2010 an optional holiday. January 1 is usually not a public holiday in Pakistan; it is however a bank holiday. All public, private educational and business organizations except banks remain fully functional and commence normal daily activity. Banks are closed for the general public but not for their employees. Government employees are entitled to avail optional holidays with prior consent from their departmental heads.
Public transport is available all day long but a commuter will often experience traffic congestion especially on New Year’s Eve. Local transport authorities should be consulted for public transport schedules on specific routes.
New Year’s Day Resolutions and Traditions
While celebration varies all over the world, common traditions include:
- Making resolutions or goals to improve one’s life.
- Common resolutions concern diet, exercise, bad habits, and other issues concerning personal wellness. A common view is to use the first day of the year as a clean slate to improve one’s life.
- A gathering of loved ones: Here you’ll typically find champagne, feasting, confetti, noise makers, and other methods of merriment Fireworks, parades, concerts.
- Famous parades include London’s New Year’s Day Parade and the Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. Superstitions concerning food or visitors to bring luck.