People’s Daily Online
Only a few days remain before celebrating Chinese Lunar New Year, also known as the Spring Festival, and yet, a festival atmosphere can also be seen in Pakistan too these days. There are so many Chinese restaurants, shops, supermarkets, etc., all decorated in a traditional Chinese style, offering special offers, big discounts, and attracting both Chinese and Pakistani customers alike.
There exists a huge community of Chinese, many of whom are engaged in projects related to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), who are also preparing for the festival. Usually, Chinese companies will organize cultural performances and food to celebrate the festival in addition to inviting Pakistani colleagues and officials to join in the fun. Although due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, large gatherings are to be avoided this year, though smaller-scale activities will still be able to play an enhanced role during the festive season, following the implementation of the proper Standard Operating Procedures (SoPs) for prevention.
China will be celebrating the “Chinese New Year,” a public holiday generally known in the country as “Spring Festival,” on Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2022. It is based on the lunar calendar and usually falls between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20 every year. It is one of the most important and biggest festivals in traditional Chinese culture, and one of the longest public holidays, lasting up to seven days.
The Chinese New Year is celebrated in China as well as in neighboring countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, South Korea, and all around the world where there are Chinese communities. In Pakistan, there are up to 90,000 Chinese who have lived there for various periods of time. They will also be celebrating the festival in its full cultural and traditional spirit.
Many similarities exist between the Chinese New Year and Pakistan’s traditional “Eid” festival. Both are based on the lunar calendar and are among the most important and biggest festivals in each society. Both are family-centric festivals, which serve as a time when everyone will spend time with their loved ones. Many will seek to travel home for reunions with elderly family members, even if this means travelling long distances. Every year, both countries witness large migrations during the festival season. People may face difficulties booking tickets for trains, flights, or long-distance buses, and have to battle through heavy traffic, but will still nonetheless make the journey back to their hometowns.
In China, the most exciting part of the festival is Chinese New Year’s Eve, when people stay up late at night and set off fireworks. In Pakistan, people try to finish their shopping for “Eid” and stay up late at night as well, busying themselves with eating and shopping and other fun things.
Another thing the two festivals have in common is the giving out of cash envelopes. In China, it is very common for older people to put money in red envelopes and then gift the packets to youngsters. In Pakistan, this practice is called “Eidi,” and kids will then spend this money however they want. Family meals are another common feature, with the whole family enjoying a big sumptuous meal specially prepared for the festival and which usually contains a very rich and traditional variety of foods. Even poor families will also try to cook their best food on this occasion.