Pakistan, a country situated in Southern Asia, sharing borders with Afghanistan, China, India and Iran, is an Islamic state steeped in rich culture. If you’ve ever been to Pakistan, you must have seen the vast diversity of cultures and traditions that make for a very colorful and exciting view. However, one thing that all cultures here in Pakistan have in common is the unparalleled and heartwarming hospitality displayed by the people from all regions and corners of the country.
Of the many beautiful traditions prevalent here, one of the most common one is presenting gifts to each other, especially to guests from abroad. Guests from abroad are treated with utmost eagerness and heartfelt warmth and Pakistani people take great pride in making their guests feel at home and are anxious to welcome them with open arms. There is a rich tradition of making calls at each others’ houses. If invited to a Pakistani’s home, it is customary to bring a small gift for your host, such as flowers, sweetmeats, or chocolates. It is considered proper etiquette not to open the gifts upon receiving them. Also, the gift should be presented by the guest with both hands.
In addition to presenting gifts when calling upon a Pakistani’s house, it is also customary to present gifts on weddings to the bride and groom, usually clothes, decoration pieces or small items of jewelry. Birthdays and housewarming are two occasions celebrated with a lot of gusto, exactly as they are celebrated across the world, with a rich tradition of presenting the birthday girl/boy with presents. It is also considered customary for the parents of a newly born baby to distribute sweetmeats among relatives and friends.
This tradition of presenting guests with sweets & gifts is undoubtedly a beautiful tradition that still prevails among the Pakistani folks. The Pakistani community is well knit with the people extremely close to each other according to the spirit of their religious beliefs.
Two of the most important occasions Pakistanis celebrate are the religious occasions; Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha. Eid-ul-Fitr is celebrated as the end of 30 days of continuous fasting during the month of Ramadan. People pay visits to each other during these two most important religious celebrations and it is customary to exchange sweets, bangles, henna and other such customary gifts.
On the occasion of Eid-ul-Azha, all Pakistanis exchange sacrificial meat and distribute it among poor people too. Apart from this, it is customary for pilgrims who go for hajj (pilgrimage) to Mecca to bring holy water and dates for their friends and family, both of which are revered due to their connection with the holy ground (Mecca is considered a holy place by Muslims all across the globe). In fact, it would not be wrong to conclude that exchange of presents is probably one of the most common traditions practiced in Pakistan. It is a practice etched so deeply in the culture that it has formed pretty much the most important part of it.