I am a very patriotic Pakistani. I loved living there and honestly never wanted to live anywhere in the world except my own country. However, due to husbands plans, I’ve had to live abroad for many years of my life. Living so far away from my beloved country, I feel responsible to promote our culture, religion and customs wherever we live.
We have now been living in Halifax, Canada for over a year now. In this year we have made really good friends from all backgrounds and origins. Our local Canadian group of friends has played a major role in our contentment in this piece of land. We have not felt even a tiny trace of racism here. Everyone has been extremely sweet and friendly. Every week here, we have been invited by them over to their house, a pub or an event. We have thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company.
We finally planned this party at our place not only to return their favours but also to promote Pakistan’s image in the western world. I feel it is even more important in this day and age to spread positivity as the media already seems to have huge propaganda against our country and religion.
- Created a Facebook event for the party a month in advance.
- Menu cards were created on MS Word with a cute font way in advance.
- Created a playlist on Spotify with Pakistani Music including Coke Studio & Drama OSTs. This playlist was played on our Google Home on low volume throughout the event.
- Created a YouTube playlist on my channel called ‘Pakistan Party’ with videos with great Pakistani footage from Northern areas and documentaries. This was played in the background on TV on mute before dinner.
- Our wedding album was placed on the ottoman in the center so the guests could take a look.
- Our travel journals were displayed and many guests checked those out before dinner.
- After dinner, we played our Mehendi and Shadi videos on TV so they could get a glimpse of our customs.
- When anyone was leaving, they were given a small lunchbox with leftover food to take home.
- When anyone was leaving, they were offered chocolates as a token of appreciation for coming to the party.
- I wore our national dress lawn kurta, straight pants with truck-art Kheri’s.
This party was the first big scale party that we conducted at our own place so we took it as a project. We both were equally excited about the party. So we planned it way in advance and distributed duties among ourselves.
- Haaris was in charge of all cleaning. (Vacuuming, bathroom cleaning, garbage etc)
- And I was in charge of all cooking and detailing (menu cards, tidying up, kitchen management).
- We managed some of the tasks together like changing the setting and planning it all.
- So thankful to Allah for this priceless relationship where we are able to collaborate on projects together as a team. We both know we wouldn’t have been able to host this party without each other’s endless support and help!
- When husband & wives help each other out, it removes feelings of exhaustion and bitterness and promotes love and happiness.
Since all the guests of this party were local Canadians, we kept spices low for them. Following was the party menu. I made everything except the ones mentioned:
- Chicken Biryani (Got it from a Pakistani caterer here)
- Vegetable soup with croutons
- Chicken Roast
- Palak Paneer
- Tarka Daal
- Dahi Boondian
- Cheese Samosas (from Wallmart)
- Naans (Wallmart)
- Strawberry & chocolate sponge cake
- Gulab Jamun (Wallmart)
- Ras Malai (Wallmart)
- Sliced fruit (a guest brought)
- Chocolate tiles (a guest brought)
- Mango Lassi (Wallmart)
- Rooh-Afza (Desi store)
One of our friends was allergic to wheat and gluten so we kept options for her.
- Thanks to the Pakistani videos, we started talking about beautiful places in Pakistan. Its grand mountains and lovely landscapes. We also encouraged them to plan a holiday to Pakistan at least once in their lives.
- We talked about Pakistani weddings in detail and shared our wedding stories.
- Told them more about our language Urdu.
- Explained about Pakistani food as they had a lot of questions about all the dishes and desserts.
- Differences in Indian and Pakistani culture and food.
- Climate and weather in Pakistan.
- Discussed Truck art in detail as they saw my paintings on the wall.
- Talked about our dresses and shoes as many commented on how good I looked in traditional attire.
- The basic, reasons and benefits of fasting as Iftar time was a little later than the guests were served their dinner. They were really intrigued to know more and we were happy to explain it all.
- We shared some funny incidents about our wedding with them too including when Haaris’s cousin hid many alarm clocks in our hotel room on our wedding night. We all had a good laugh.
- When the party was almost over and some guests were about to leave, I thought I’d put the sliced fruits in the fridge. The moment I opened it, a whole compartment of our fridge door collapsed on the floor including a huge bottle of milk which started spilling all over me (My pants and kheri’s were drenched in milk). Everything in that compartment fell on the floor and milk was splattered all over the kitchen floor and cupboards. It was embarrassing and hilarious at the same time. As I grabbed some kitchen towels and started cleaning the floor, two of my sweetest friends Amber and Jenn told me not to even bend as they will clean it all. They took over and cleaned all the mess and didn’t let me do anything. Once they were done, I said ‘Thank you so so much for cleaning up all the mess.” They replied: “Don’t even mention it. Thank you so much for cooking all the food for us.”
- One of my friends Ifo put the chocolate in the pocket of his shirt. After some time, he realized it had melted in his shirt and he had to change it. One of the lunch boxes we were giving everyone leaked and then we had to double wrap.
All our friends absolutely loved the food and said they had a great time at the party. Most of them said they didn’t find the food very spicy and were really enjoying it. Most of them took up to 3 helpings. They also seemed really interested in our wedding dances and pictures.
Ideas for next time
Since this was the first ever Pakistan Party, there were so many things which could be better. For next time, we plan to:
- Have some patriotic party props like flag, jhandiyan, posters, balloons, broach, or wall displays.
- A dress colour theme to be conveyed to all guests at the time of party invitation. All guests to wear white or green coloured clothes (if they have any).
- Considering making this an annual event.
- If you love the idea of Pakistan Party here is some great inspiration for you to plan yours.
Thank you to all those who helped in bringing life to the party. For all my followers who gave me valuable ideas and my family who provide guidance.
Final word on Patriotism
I strongly feel that we should focus on the positives and not criticize our country especially when we live abroad. Life is all about looking at either glass half full or half empty. It’s best to talk about the good things rather than the bad ones. Following is my article where I’m talking about exactly this point: