Halloween in Pakistan

Posted on October 31, 2006
Filed Under >S.A.J. Shirazi, Society
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Guest Post by S A J Shirazi

Halloween is celebrated on the night of October 31, most notably by children dressing in costumes and going door-to-door collecting sweets. Halloween originated among the Celts in Ireland, Britain and France as the Pagan Celtic harvest festival, Samhain and now it has become a part of American pop culture.

The festival has recently become popular with children and young people in Pakistan and is especially celebrated in Lahore with delicious food and music. The Daily Times carries a report on Haloween preparations in Lahore:

Yaseen Salman, an event organizer, said that Pakistanis had localized Halloween. Children in the West went trick-or-treating door-to-door in fancy costumes, he said, but Pakistanis arranged get-togethers, dance parties, concerts and sometimes horror shows. Restaurants and cafes also arrange special events to celebrate the festival. Saleem Aslam from Cafe Nouvelle on MM Alam Road said the cafe had arranged a number of games to celebrate Halloween. Only couples would be allowed in the restaurant on the night, he said, “to prevent trouble”….

The dress code had been decided, Saleem said, and caramel mouse cakes, apples in sweet syrup and cocoa butter with icing sugar were the new arrivals at Halloween. Mehreen Syed, a model, said she had been invited by a number of friends which showed that the western festival was now becoming popular in Pakistan. “Black, orange, purple, green and red are the common colors on Halloween accompanied by scary masks,” she said. Popular model Neha said she celebrated the event in a casual way. “I hang out with friends, go out for dinner or arrange a Halloween party at my house.”

Like so many other western cultural the trend, Halloween is becoming popular in Pakistan. What is your take on this?

S A J Shirazi is a Lahore (Pakistan) based writer. His blog is called Light Within, where a version of this post first appeared.

25 responses to “Halloween in Pakistan”

  1. Khalid Baig says:

    Given our terrible and increasing surrender to paganism the only day we should be observing is a day of mourning. Better yet it should be a day of repentance that could liberate us from all these days. And all this daze.

  2. Human says:

    G Mustafa.. agreed… and I also agree with Rafay… With the comments over here I wont be surprised to see an article on Christmas on this forum saying that we should also celebrate it.. like Rafay said, we have our own rich culture and religious traditions that we should celebrate… we are showing more enthusiasm and vibrancy on Halloween here then we show on Eid… The reason for this is that we no longer take pride in who we are… we are Muslims and Pakistanis; we should be proud of who we are, we should not forget our values; only then we will be able to understand what is good for us and what is not…

  3. G Mujtaba says:

    I was surprised to see a dialogue about whether we should have halloween rather hell-o-ween in Pakistan, a festival even much debated in countries where it actually started like ireland. I dont know why some of us think we must adopt western culture. Many people in west dont even know about Eid, ramadan etc rather than celebrating them. I dont blame them because it is neither religious or cultural need for them and same is for us we dont need to know or celebrate hell-o-ween, St Patrick day, Christmas or Easter.

  4. Rafay Kashmiri says:

    Oct 6
    agreed, but Helloween will be ok

    nothing against nonsensical festivals, we in Europe even have
    festival for ” Pure Nonsense “duration, two weekends.
    Actually in Germany we have October fest, ( beer drinking)

    Instead of all these shameful foreign nonsensically “religious”
    and fanatical festivals celeberated in Pakistan, we should
    invent our own festivals or events e.g
    festival for Indus Ghandhara civilization
    festival for Punjnad
    festival for Turbans, Food, poetry, music dresses etc
    Karakuram festival
    Samandar festival
    Festival for brains !!!!!!

  5. Oct 6 says:

    Oct. 6 should be declared the new Haloween Day in Pakistan. WHat is happening today with this sham election is truly scary.

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