Stories about christmas

What I saw at the Pakistan vs India match in Adelaide

I didn’t sleep last Saturday night. Call it excitement, anticipation of victory or simple enthusiasm; words just cannot describe what I felt that night. I had reached Adelaide the day before, after boarding a 12-hour-long flight, and even though the exhaustion was formidable, anyone on Hindley Street on the night of February 14, 2015, will tell you that it was worth it. Picture the eve before Eid if you are a Muslim, Diwali if you are a Hindu or Christmas if you are a Christian, and multiply the excitement by 10 times – that’s the level of exhilaration I felt that night. ...

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There is no difference between Christmas and Eid

Tis’ the season to be jolly! December always comes with great tidings; winter chills, hot chocolate, numerous holidays and an opportunity to make new resolutions. And along all this, it also brings the joyful day of Christmas. This day is an embodiment of religious beliefs, which celebrates a miraculous event and a time of togetherness. Two billion Christians all over the world celebrate this day with great spirit and felicity. As a child, the idea of Christmas for me was all about decorating Christmas trees, receiving presents and Santa stuffing himself down a chimney. I used to be most excited about meeting Santa ...

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A Christmas feast even Santa wouldn’t forget!

Growing up watching Disney movies, and having lived in London, I have always loved the winter festivities surrounding Christmas. Christmas carols playing in restaurants, malls and shops gives a celebratory kick to the cold winters. Twinkling green pine, spruce or fir trees with fake snowflakes and buntings lit the hearts and house space of so many. The old age tradition of celebrating the winter solstice, red-cheeked Santa Claus, chariots, appreciative giveaways, culture specific dinners are all marks of peace, compassion, happiness and laughter. And that is exactly what we need right now! Globally, the need of the hour is huge chunks ...

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Why Pakistan must learn to celebrate Christmas

As December approaches, crazy sales, decorations and preparations flood countries across the world. Hot chocolate, family dinners and wish list presents are the top priorities of everyone. However, it’s not like that in Pakistan. In fact, this year the whole of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) won’t be celebrating Christmas as freely as they had hoped. Instead of celebrating the most holy and festive occasion of the year for them, they will be mourning the tragic massacre of innocent school-going children in Peshawar. This time, our Christian brothers and sisters have volunteered to tone down Christmas celebrations. However, if you think about it, Christmas has never really been a big ...

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A Pakistani Christmas with a Kashmiri leg of lamb

A Pakistani Christmas is so different. With a large local Christian population and the concepts of Christmas firmly entrenched in our culture from the colonial times, it is no wonder that we, in Pakistan, celebrate this festive day with much excitement yet in such different ways – menus, traditions and styles. The fact that December 25th also marks the birthday of the founder of Pakistan, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the public holiday is definitely welcome, not only for our Christian population (which would be given a day off regardless), but also for us to enjoy this wonderful time of year. I remember well, always being excited ...

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Celebrate Christmas, Pakistan!

This is arguably my most favourite time of the year. The spirit of Christmas brings joy, hope and brings about a pleasant change in people’s outlook. There’s positive energy in the air and everyone seems to be optimistic, passionate and blessed. We, in the United States, have had a tough 2014. Things haven’t been all that great. Gun violence, race-centric crimes, rising debt, foreign policy misadventures, terrorism, wars, and worst of all, a Republican victory in the mid-term elections have marred the proceedings and tainted our morale. But, this is a resilient nation. It has seen the worst and the darkest of times. When ...

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Why is Pakistan a pariah at the Lord’s Cricket Ground?

Being out of place is a funny feeling – it’s nothing unbearable but it always keeps you outside your comfort zone. For an expat Pakistani, life in the UK is fraught with pangs of this feeling. This is usually evident during the festive season of Christmas when you are always in a dilemma as to whether you should celebrate Jesus’s birthday – with all the commercialism thrown in – with your neighbours, friends and colleagues or refrain from it due to differences in Muslim and Christian beliefs about Jesus Christ. Usually, one does well to acquire a middle ground. This year, however, I decided ...

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Series 2: “The Djinn” Part 3 Written in blood

One day, I showed a letter to Hercules which my grandmother found in a drawer of this house.  It was dated June 1942. “Dearest Lily, It’s been a while since I wrote. The cook was away and we were at the club every day because nothing can persuade me to cook in this heat. All stoves are wretched of course, but these ones much more so. My respect for Indian haunches increases whenever I see our cook, all 200 pounds of him squatting at that blazing furnace for hours doing whatever it is one does with kedgerees and curries. And then if you please, ...

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Eid away from home isn’t that bad at all

I received a beautiful gift from a complete stranger. I don’t even know her name. It was the last Friday of Ramazan, so I decided to attend the Dua and khatam-e-Quran at my local mosque. Growing up in Lahore, I had never seen the inside of a mosque in my entire life. So, even after more than a decade of living in America, I have rarely gone to my local mosque as I, perhaps, feel that the mosque is a place where men gather. But that Friday, on my birthday no less, I went. As I prayed jammat with women of all colour and creed, ...

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Why the French burqa ban upsets me as a secular feminist

The European Court of Human Rights has weighed in on the face veil ban in France and, in a flagrant exhibition of institutionalised bigotry, has upheld the government’s decision. As goes France, so goes Europe. The verdict breathes fresh air into an old debate, in which the opposing sides had begun to take comfort in the thought of this restriction being a French anomaly, not representative of the general European psyche. But we’ve faced disappointments before. We’ve been led to believe that we may choose either one of the two positions: – Burqa is benign, and must be allowed – Burqa is a harmful, patriarchal icon, ...

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