next August 14
with your Family
Most Americans celebrate
the Fourth of July, their country's Independence Day, with fun and fanfare:
barbecues, family get togethers, picnics, and of course, fireworks.
While many Pak-Americans
take advantage of the holiday to celebrate the country of their birth or adoption
(not to mention get a day off from work), one month later, they are usually
oblivious to Pakistan's Independence Day on August 14.
While many Pakistanis take
Pakistan for granted. They don't realize the blood, sweat and tears, literally,
that it took to bring about the country's establishment. By holding an August
14th Pakistan Family Day in your home, you can share the struggle of these Muslims',
in most cases your parents and/or grandparents, who made the trek from India
you may not get a day of
work for August 14th and you may not see the fireworks that bedazzle spectators
on July 4th all across America, but you can make your own small Pakistan Independence
Day celebration at home with some of these ideas.
1. Yes, you can have a barbecue
- Pakistani style. Shami kababs, Behari kababs, chicken Tikka, and other mouth
watering delicacies can grace your grill on this momentous occasion. This activity
can double up as an independence day picnic for the whole family at a local
park so the young and old can enjoy themselves.
2. If you're not really
in the mood for cooking over a hot grill in the heat of August, take the family
out to a local Pakistani restaurant. Ask if the restaurant has any August 14th
specials. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Try to sample as much as
you can without overeating. If the food and service pass muster, give a generous
tip, grab some business cards on your way out and become the restaurant's unofficial
spokesperson amongst your family and friends.
3. In a well-thought out
and planned presentation, explain the significance of August 14. You should
answer some of these basic questions: why is August 14 important for Pakistan?
What did this date mean for millions of Muslims living in India? How did the
Muslims mobilize their resources for the Pakistan movement so that August 14
became a reality?
Use pictures and other visual
aids to maintain audience interest. You can show photographs of relatives who
were involved in the Pakistan movement or share newspaper clippings about the
events on that date, for example.
4. Invite someone who was
there on August 14, 1947
If you have a parent or
grandparent who was alive on August 14, 1947, invite them and let them share
their personal story. Ask them to recount what life was like as a young person
in 1947, how they migrated to Pakistan and what it felt like witnessing independence.
If they were too young to
remember that, ask them about their years growing up in Pakistan, when the country
was first being established. What challenges did they face? How did they take
care of their basic needs? What kinds of things did kids do to pass the time?
5. Check out some virtual
What is a national holiday
without fireworks? While you probably won't succeed in getting your local city
council to organize a green and white fireworks display for Pakistan's Independence,
you can still enjoy this patriotic pastime by going online. Check out these
sites for virtual fireworks:
6. Organize a Pakistan day
family variety show
A family variety show showcasing
everyone's talent for something Pakistani can be a fun and educational experience.
It requires preparation beforehand, but some spontaneous elements can also be
brought in at the last minute (i.e. stand up comedy in Urdu)>
Get the children to sing
the Pakistani national anthem and a patriotic song; for the poetic, a presentation
of one of Muhammad Iqbal's poems calling for the establishment of Pakistan,
along with its English translation and explanation. The ideas are virtually
endless, but this can be a great way to keep Pakistani culture alive while being
a bonding experience for the whole family.
7. Watch a video about Pakistan
Check out your local library
or video rental store for something about Pakistan's history, culture or geography.
It could be a travel video, or it could even be one that focuses on the world's
second highest mountain: K2, located, where else, in Pakistan.
If you don't find much,
this can also become a family project: getting more books and video documentaries
about Pakistan into your local and school libraries and video stores.
8. Urdu for today
Try to get the whole family
to speak only Urdu for the day. One rule of thumb though: nobody is allowed
to mock anyone else's Urdu accent (or lack of it). This could be starting point
to more Urdu conversation in your home.
9. Mango treasure hunt
This is kind of cheesy but
fun. Buy a crate of mangoes (Pakistan's unofficial fruit) and if you have a
large enough backyard, hide them in different places. The person who finds the
most mangoes doesn't only get to eat them, but also gets a prize.
10. Flag your vehicle
Get a whole bunch of small
Pakistani flags (you can easily make them with some construction paper, markers
and a stick) and plaster your car, bike or motorcycle with them for the day.
Or, if you'd rather not cramp your style this way, a single, medium-sized flag
of Pakistan tied carefully to your car's antenna or bike's handle could also
remind you of the occasion throughout the day.
11. Have a quiz game
Test everyone's knowledge
of all aspects of Pakistan with a quiz game. Gather questions and answers about
geography, history, economy, politics, and more. Once you've got everything,
get one person to be the emcee. Include prizes for winners and post all questions
and answers after the game on a board on the fridge so everyone can keep learning.
11. Send a donation to Pakistan
Write out a check on behalf
of the whole family to your local charity that's doing work in Pakistan (like
HDF). Send a card with it signed by all family members.
12. Catch the action in
Pakistan with your relatives
Call or e-mail your relatives
back home and se how they're spending August 14 (they've probably got the day
off). Ask them what they're planning to do on Independence Day and give a quick
rundown of your schedule. Maybe you can encourage them to do some of the activities
you've got planned (especially donating to a charity and having the household's
elders share stories of Pakistan's past).
Date/Time Last Modified: 7/31/2002 10:52:13 AM
Kim: 6/3/2005 5:11:13 PM
"Flag your vehicle. Get a whole bunch of small Pakistani flags (you can easily make them with some construction paper, markers and a stick) and plaster your car, bike or motorcycle with them for the day. Or, if you'd rather not cramp your style this way, a single, medium-sized flag of Pakistan tied carefully to your car's antenna or bike's handle could also remind you of the occasion throughout the day." Why would you wave a foreign flag. Isn't waving a flag a sign of citizenship?
sadiya: 8/10/2006 4:19:15 PM
It would be nice to have the Pakistani and American flags up together. Also I think the idea of going to a Pakistani restaurant would be fun, it'd be cool to bring non Pakistani friends to introduce them to the food too.
eik mufrad: 8/16/2006 2:08:40 AM
The flag your vehicle with Pakistani flags idea is totally unsafe! You might as well write "I am a terrorist/wife-beater." The best thing for a Pakistani to do is hide his nationality as much as possible. For example, if someone asks where you're from, don't say "Pakistan." Tell them you are from Maryland, or New Jersey or some other American place.
There is nothing un-Pakistani in what I just said. Jews were persecuted in Europe for centuries; they hid their nationality AND were very proud of their nationality at the same time. A Pakistani can do the same.
There are a few Americans (maybe you'll meet one per year - in my own experience) who want to blame any random muslim for Taliban's oppression of women and Osama's 9/11 acts. Be careful!
If you are Pakistani, say, for example, "I am from Austin, Texas." That way, people will assume you're hispanic/other. If a person insists further, and asks, "Where are your parents from?", tell them, "My parents are from Nepal/Sri Lanka." No one knows anything about these countries.
Also, don't invite Americans to a Pakistani restaurant, or anything like that. Try to be like one of those Vietnamese-American 2nd-generation children, who are more concerned with video-games and school, than learning Vietnamese traditional cooking, etc.
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