It is that time of the year again when thousands of Pakistani Americans and others from the Greater Middle East converge on Washington D.C. for what is known as the “New Year’s Celebration”. This yearly event marks the start of the new year and is a great chance for the entire region to get together and spend a few days at one of the most popular destinations in the United States. There are many activities planned in the run up to this important event. This new year’s eve will mark the beginning of new government and new year’s resolutions, which are also commemorated around the world. It is an important time to remember loved ones and friends as well as wish everyone on the new year’s eve the best for the new year.
The usual rituals that take place on New Year’s Eve usually have a new twist this year. Some of the traditional customs include Pakistani New Year’s Eve celebrations, which begin with a banquet and prayer. Family and friends gather in a large and silent room to celebrate the new year with music, food and wine. At times, food is even served in utensils.
During the evening, a fire is lit in the Qasida Ghazal where women burn wool thread to symbolically wove the past and create new year’s memories. The women sing traditional songs and perform traditional dances to wish each other new year’s luck. It is during this part of the new year’s celebrations when people throw rice and dates to wish each other well. The traditional Pakistani cake is also offered to guests as a sign of luck and prosperity for the new year.
Pakistani authorities have taken steps to ensure that women enjoy their right to participate in celebrating New Year’s Day. While it is not a legal obligation for a woman to be in a place of celebration, many feel it important to do so. After all, while celebrating New Year’s Day is a time for joyous traditions to be broken, there are stories of women who were subjected to harsh abuse throughout the old customs and were forced to walk the extra mile to keep the tradition alive. By ensuring that women get a voice on New Year’s Day, it sends a strong message to would-be abusers that violence against women will not be tolerated. This is part of the fight against violence against women in Pakistan.
The customary breaking of the new year’s bones and consuming of the ‘ka and zair’ are also done differently this year. Instead of throwing rice and dates, guests are offered gifts and sweets instead. The new year’s eve feast can also feature foods that are more nutritious than what one has been used to eating during the year. The aim is to offer guests something new and exciting on the new year’s eve.
Pakistanis traditionally observe new year’s eve on the day when they were first born. It is believed that these two events are related, and that the child was sent to live on the other side of the river in order to witness the event. However, not all agree with this belief. Some would say that the new year’s event actually started on the day the baby was born, as some ancestors wanted to celebrate their immortality by burying them on the day after they were born. Whatever the case may be, the new year’s ceremonies are celebrated with great enthusiasm, and millions of Pakistanis will make the trip to the city to see if they will indeed meet their new year’s wishes.
If you look back on the olden days when cameras and films helped to capture the moment, you would find that there was a lot of crying and celebration. This is no longer the case with the new generation. There is less of the joyous excitement as a result of the digital revolution, but the general outlook seems to be more hopeful. The new year’s celebrations will also be a celebration of love and belongingness and fewer people are expected to go home as empty as they were on New Year’s Eve last year.
It is interesting to note that many Pakistani Americans choose to celebrate the new year with their family and friends in America. There is a wide range of nationalistic parades that take place in major cities each year, so if you are unable to make it to Pakistan, you might consider watching them on television. One important point to remember is that while New Year’s Eve is a traditional time for Pakistani Americans to gather to have fun and party, other than that, there is no reason why you cannot celebrate your new year’s eve in the same spirit as your loved ones do. That is what makes New Year’s Eve so special.