Culture is the characteristics of a particular group of people, defined by everything from language, religion, cuisine, social habits, music and arts. Culture may be defined as behavior peculiar to human beings, together with material objects used. Culture consists of language, ideas, beliefs, customs, codes, institution, tools, techniques, works of arts, ceremonies and so on. According to Allama Iqbal: “Culture encompasses all the mental, Spiritual and Physical activities of a Nation. It includes the basic beliefs and faith, values and literature, art and architecture, music and mode of dress, manners and customs prevalent in a given Society.” PAKISTANI CULTURE IS A ISLAMIC CULTURE
Pakistan is an ideological Islamic State. Its very existence is due to Islam, so the Pakistani culture is primarily based on the Islamic way of life. All other ingredients of culture are inspired by Islam. Pakistani culture is highlighted by its grandeur, simplicity, firm convictions and noble deeds and ideas. If we study the cultures of Pakistan there are four different types of cultures at provincial level. They are different from each other in some aspects and similar in some aspects.
People: Punjabi people are very warm hearted and fun loving. Punjabis are heterogeneous group comprising of different tribes, clans, communities and are known to celebrate each and every tradition of their culture. Some popular casts of Punjabi’s are; Jats, Maliks, Mughals, Arains, Gujjars, Awans, Rajputs, Gakhars, Khokhars, Sheikhs, Aheers, Kambohs, Niazis, Legharis, Khosas, Dogars, Thaheem, Mirani, Qureshis, and Syeds.
Languages: Punjabi is the provincial language of Punjab. It is spoken as the first language by majority people in Punjab, even spoken and understood in areas beyond the confines of Punjab. Facts and figures show that Punjabi language is spoken as first language by 44% of Pakistanis. Urdu language is also commonly spoken in this region. Key Punjabi languages/dialects are:
Dresses: Costumes of Punjab are an indication of the bright and vibrant culture and lifestyle of the people. The costumes are a mix of colours, comfort and beauty and Punjab is well known for the use of phulkari(embroidery) in its costumes. In most of the villages of Punjab men wear Pagri(turban), dhoti/lacha, kurta, khusa. Women wear gharara, or choridar pajama or colorful shalwar kameez, paranda, choli/duppata, khusa, kola puri chappal or tillay wali jutti. Whereas in urban areas of Punjab men and women follow latest trends and fashion, generally they wear different styles of shalwar kameez.
Cuisine: The extensive cuisine of Punjab can be vegetarian and non-vegetarian. Most Punjabi food is eaten with either rice or roti. There are some dishes that are exclusive to Punjab such as Mah Di Dal, Paratha, Makai ki rotti, Saron Da Saag, and in cities Choley, Haleem, Baryani and other spicy dishes are popular. In beverages, tea is consumed in all seasons and as a custom most of Punjabis serve tea to their guests. Punjabis are also fond of Zarda, Gulab-Jamuns, Kheer, Jalaibi,Samosy, Pakorey etc. During summers people drink lassi, doodh-soda, aloo bokharey ka sharbat, lemonade etc.
Sports: Punjabi people have fanatical interest in sports. Punjabi’s are fond of kabaddi, and wrestling. Other games being played in Punjab region include Gilli-Danda, Khoo-Khoo, Yassu-Panju, Pitho-Garam, Ludo, Chuppan-Chupai, Baraf-Panni, Kanchy and some major sports include cricket, boxing, horse-racing, hockey and football.
Cultural Festivals: There are numerous festivals which are celebrated by Punjabi people including some religious festivals such as Eid-Milad-Un-Nabi, Jumu’ah, Laylat-ul-Qadr etc. Urcs (devotional fairs),which are held at the shirnes of sufi saints, Melas and Nomaish (exhibitions). Lahori’s are famous all over the country for their celebrations particularly for Basant festival (kite flying) in the spring season.
Dance and Music: Bhangra is most commonly known Punjabi music genre and dance style. Punjabis passionately love folk songs/music, Qawali and Punjabi music is recognized throughout the world. The Tabla, Dhol, Dholki, Chimta, Flute and Sitar are all common instruments of this delightful culture. Different forms of dance in Punjab are: Loddi, Dhamal, Sammi, Kikli, Gatka, Bhangra, Giddha and Dandiya.
Customs and Rituals: Some of the customs followed in Punjab have no foundation in Islam. However, the Punjabi culture has adopted those ceremonies and traditions from Hindu culture.
Birth Rituals: Punjabis celebrate birth of their child with great enthusiasm. Grandfather or grandmother or some respected elder member from the family puts honey with their index finger in child’s mouth called Ghutii. Sweets are distributed among friends and relatives and people bring gifts for the child and mother. Generally on 7thday child’s head is shaven and Aqiqa ceremony is held, also sheep/goat is slaughtered.
Punjabi Weddings: Punjabi weddings are based on traditions and are conducted with strong reflection of the Punjabi culture followed by several pre-wedding customs and rituals (dholki,mayun,ubtan etc.) Traditional customs and the ceremony generally lasts for 3days, Mehndi, Barat (Nikkah+Ruksati) and Walima, followed by Chauti (bringing the bride back to her parents’ home the next day).
Funeral Rituals: At funerals after namaz-e-janaza it is customary to offer lunch to people who came for condolence. On 3rdday of the funeral, Qul is held and every following thursday the Quran is recited (jumah-e-raat) followed by prayers for deceased and after 40days the chaliswaan is held.
Literature: Punjab is very rich with literature and Sufis adds more in its literature. Punjabi poetry is renowned for its extremely deep meaning, beautiful and hopeful use of words. The large number of Punjabi poetry is being translated throughout the world into many languages. Some famous poets of Punjabi are Sultan Bahu, Mia Mohammad Baksh, Baba Farid, Shah Hussain, Anwar Masood etc. Waris Shah, whose contribution to Punjabi literature is best-known for his seminal work in Heer Ranjha, known as Shakespeare of Punjabi language. Bulleh Shah was a Punjabi Sufi poet, a humanist and a philosopher. The verse from Bulleh Shah primarily employed is called the Kafi, a style of Punjabi. Some other popular folk tales of Punjab include Sassi-Punnu, Sohni Mahiwal etc. that are passing through generations.
Arts and Crafts: Punjab is the major manufacturing industry in Pakistan’s economy and here each art enjoys a place of its own. The main crafts created in the highlands and other rural areas of Punjab are basketry, pottery, bone work, textile, cloth woven on handlooms, cotton, silk etc. embroidery, weaving, carpets, stone craft, jewelry, metal work along with truck art and other wood works.
Baloch culture is opposite to the general perception about it. Though Balochistan is an area of barren lands, deserts and mountains, the Baloch culture is full of traditions, arts and crafts. Balochi embroidery is one of the most popular arts and crafts which are done by the females. Baluchistan is also known for its tribes and festivals. Another distinct feature of Baloch culture is the storytelling tradition. Poets and story tellers are highly respected in Baloch culture.
Language: The people belonging to Baloch tribe speak balochi language.
Marriages: In Baloch culture marriages are different and unique than in the other provinces of the country. The marriages are according to Islamic principles in presence of a Mullana along with the presence of witnesses. Every member of the family takes part in the marriage; they express their joy and happiness by following the traditions of their culture. Usually the marriages are done in young ages (teenage) but are arranged in early childhood or at birth.
Dressing : Like all the other provinces of Pakistan the national dress shalwar kameez with distinct additions and modifications are worn in Baloch culture. Turban is the common headwear of Bloch men along with wide loose shalwar along with knee-long shirts. Females dress consists of a shirt having a big pocket and embroidery and embedded round mirror work in front. A big Dupatta/ Chaddar is taken to cover the head and shoulders. Festivals : Both religious and social festivals are celebrated by Baloch people. The religious festivals are same as across the country like Eid-ul-Azha and Eid-ul-Fiter. Baloch culture is full of many social festivals like Sibi festival which has folk music performance, cultural dances, handicrafts stalls, cattle shows and a number of other entertaining activities showing the colorful side of Baloch people.
Music: Baloch culture is rich in folk music dances and songs. Famous wedding songs of Baloch culture are Nazenk and Salonk. The instruments used are mainly a flute, locally called Nal, Tamboora and Soroz. A common Baloch folk dance is known as Dochaap. Women also move in a circle clapping their hands on certain occasions. Other dances include the Lewa, Latti and Hambo.
Food: Usually Baloch people have meals in morning and evening. Men and women eat separately. Wheat, millet and rice are part of the Baloch meal. Meat is also an important part; “Sajji” is the favorite dish of most people. Sajji is the food eaten with knife other than that Baloch people usually eat with hands. Milk, butter and vegetables are also part of Baloch cuisine.
Sports: Popular games include chauk, and Ji. Also games like wrestling, horse racing, shooting and hunting pastimes among the wealthier people of tribes. Card games and gambling are also popular among groups of some tribes.
Sindh is one of the four provinces in Pakistan located at the Southern border. The province of Sindh has been named after the famous River Indus. In Sanskrit, the province was dubbed Sindhu meaning an ocean. Language: Sindhi language is an ancient language spoken in Pakistan and many other parts of the world. Government of Pakistan issues National Identity Cards to its citizens only in two languages; Sindhi and Urdu.
Festivals: The people of Sind love their religion and the two festivals of Eid-ul-Adha and Eid-ul-Fitr are celebrated with zeal and enthusiasm. Different domestic festivals are arranged by the local people to provide people with new things they buy on Eid’s occasion. On different occasions, the Folk dance of Bhagat is also performed by professionals to entertain the visiting people. Hence, a Sindhi Cultural Festival is a compound of folk dances, music and cheap entertainment for local people.
Lifestyle: People of Sindh are more inclined towards an agricultural based lifestyle. The fertile Indus Plains provide a valuable source of income for the local people who practice farming on these lands. Inland fishing is also practiced along the Indus River in Upper Sind providing further opportunities for local people. Itinerant way of lifestyle is commonly seen in the desertic regions of Thar where people move from place to place in search for drinking water sources along with their animals.
Arts and Music: Sindhi society is dominated by great Sufis, the mystics and the martyrs. It has always been the land of peace, love, romance, and great cultural and artistic values. There were the great theologians of the Naqsh bandi order in Thatta who translated the fundamentals of the religion of Islam into their mother tongue. There were the great Sufi (mystic) poets like Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai who was the cherisher of truth and spent all his life in its propagation, pursuit and quest. Bhitai was also an excellent musician. He invented a new type of musical instrument, Tambura (drone instrument), which till today, is a primary source of music in rural Sindh. The beauty of Shah’s verses is enhanced by his blending of traditional Indian rag with the Sindhi folk songs and music.
Cultural character:The ancient Sindhi civilization was the place, where the aesthetic utilization of leisure was freely indulged. There has been evidence, that the excavations of sites dating back to 3000 B.C. (all over Sindh) is also true, around 1200 years ago when Jaina Dakshiniya Chihna (778 A.D.) described the distinguished features of Sindhi’s in this way: “Elegant, with a lovely, soft and slow gait, they are fond of the art of harvas (that is, songs, music and dancing) and full affection towards their country.” Sindhi’s celebrate Sindh Cultural day worldwide on 6th December by wearing Ajrak & Sindhi Topi on that time.
The history and the origins of Pathans has been a controversial debate however not much of a consensus could be formed . There were theories ranging from Pakhtuns having an Aryan, Jewish, Arab or mixed origin. None was convincing enough to form a conclusion. Patahns are extremely obsessed and curious to know about their origin of their race, however it might not be a major concern for many other races.
Holidays , special events and Traditions: Gham khadi,Wada Koidana,Topak tamacha,hujra,kat bistara along with those is the arrival of Sparlay or Spring, known as Nava Wroz (New Day), is also celebrated by some Pashtuns. It is an ancient annual Pashtun festival which celebrates both the beginning of spring and the New Year. Amongst some Pashtuns, Sheshbeeyeh, a prelude festival to Nava Wroz is also celebrated.
Food: One of the most famous dishes includes tikkah,serge,sugi ka halwa,kawa,chapali kabab,kabala palao,special long naans. And many more
Poetry: Pathan are very famous for their poetry ,they are very passionate and patriotic which is obvious from their poetry. Some of the famous poets are include Amir Kror Suri, Khushal Khan Khattak, Rahman Baba and many others.
Attan: In this dance, the dancers perform to the music.This dance is performed by both the genders involving 2-5 steps, ending with a clap given while facing the center, after which the process is repeated again. This dance is typically performed with the musician dictating the duration and speed. Khattak dance: The Khattak Dance is performed by the Khattak tribe. Mahsud dance: A unique dance routine using rifles performed by the Mahsud tribe of Pashtuns. Originally it was used to dance at the time of war, but later on became a cultural dance. The dancers dance empty handed and require only large drums. Nowadays though it is danced with the guns in the dancers hand. Waziri dance: Two drummers and a flute player play a particular tune. Two persons leave the circle; go dancing towards the drummers, and come back dancing in the same manner.
During performing both the persons turn around two times at a time once towards each other facing face to face and once keeping faces in opposite direction. After doing this separately they march while dancing to the assembled crowd. Clothing: Pashtun men usually wear a Partoog-Korteh in Pashto(salwar kameez is Urdu)with a pakul (Pashtun hat). In the Kandahar region young men usually wear different type of hat similar to a topi and in the Peshawar region they wear white kufis instead. Leaders or tribal chiefs sometimes wear a karakul hat, like Hamid Karzai and others. Women and girls wear traditional long dresses with a light piece of cloth used to cover their hair.They also wear beautiful hand made jewellery. And beautiful pakhtoon frocks.
Sports: Some Pashtuns participate in buzkashi, which is a sport introduced in the region during the Mughal era.. The word “buz” means “goat” and “kashi” means “dragging” or “pulling”. Not a team sport, it is every man for himself and that becomes apparent as soon as the game starts. Although buskashi is primarily an individual sport, alliances are built up between various players. Between the alliances, the strongest players finally take control .This is very similar to polo. Football is another sports very enjoyablely played by pathans of Khyber pahktoonwar.