In Pakistan, December 25th is a public holiday, but it is in memory of Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Like in
India, Christians make up a very small part of the population. But as Pakistan has a population over 162 million people, there are more than 5 million Christians! Most Christians in Pakistan are
quite poor but they do celebrate it with enthusiasm, making new clothes, baking cakes, exchanging gifts, singing carols and having all the fun that can be managed with the hand to mouth resources.
Services are an important part of their Christmas celebration and it is in Lahore that a big procession is arranged each year in Lahore that begins from St. Anthony’s church to the Cathedral. It is a long procession as it takes hours to reach the designated
destination, the Cathedral. Before and during Advent, spiritual seminars take place to help people to prepare for Christmas or ‘Bara Din’ (which in Urdu and Punjabi means the ‘Big Day’). This expression is very popular, even among Muslims in Pakistan.
It is a famous tradition among the Christians to sings carols before, during and after the actual day, funds accumulated through which are often given as donation to various charities. In areas with Christian majority all the houses are lit up and often
even have a star on the roof, with decorated streets which are a treat for the eyes. The crib and Christmas tree are also important decorations. Sometimes there are crib competitions! Christians also sometimes exchange Christmas cakes.
On Christmas Eve, Churches are packed for the midnight or vigil-mass services. The choirs sing very special hymns. After the vigil-mass, in some places, there are fireworks which help celebrate the start of Bara Din. People dance, exchange presents and enjoy
the special night.
On Bara Din or Christmas day, Christians go to Church again for the Bara Din celebrations. People wear their best, colourful clothes. They can stay in the Church courtyard for hours, enjoying various foods from the different stalls. The evening is usually
celebrated with immediate family or relatives where special food is enjoyed. Adults often visit their parents.