Culture lovers can taste Pakistan’s best cuisine, and experience its fashion and music during the Pakistani Festival at Georgia Street Plaza on Sunday July 8.
With musical performances and a fashion show, the free event is a great opportunity for the Vancouver public to get to know Pakistan’s rich cultural traditions.
The Pakistani people have been migrating from Pakistan to British Columbia since the beginning of the 20th century, and in the last decades the number of Pakistani people living in Canada highly increased.
“We all come from very different backgrounds because there are four provinces with different languages and cultural traditions. They are called Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab and Sindh. Pakistan is the link between East Asia and the Middle East and its position in the continent plays an important role in Asian unity,” says Shaukat Khan, president of the Pakistan Canada Association.
“There are multiple events throughout the year where the Pakistani community comes together. We have our Independence Day in August, religious holidays like the celebration of Eid marking the end of Ramadan, and the Republic Day in March,” explains Waseem Javed, member of the Pakistan Festival Organizing Committee.
The Pakistan Festival can play a role, says Khan, in connecting people from all kinds of backgrounds to celebrate multiculturalism.
“With this festival we want to showcase the rich culture of Pakistan, its great cuisine, music and dance traditions. There is no entrance fee, and so people can enjoy this festival with the whole family,” says Javed.
A fashion show will be one of the highlights of the Pakistan Festival, where clothes made by Pakistani designer Rabia Dastgir will be showcased. Dastgir, whose designs are this year again part of Vancouver Fashion Week 2018, mixes influences from East and West and is highly inspired by Asian nomadic tribes.
“Fashion is a big thing in the Pakistani community. It defines status and that’s why people spend a lot of money on it, which is a good thing and a bad thing,” says Javed.
This year’s festival is also a celebration of the Independence that Pakistan gained in 1947. Pakistani artists will perform, among them singer Faakhir Mehmood, who had several number one hits in Pakistan. Children will also be onstage during the festival in a series of cultural dance performances.
“These kind of festivals can also be used to improve the somewhat negative image that Pakistan has in North America. The pictures on the news in which Pakistanis have guns in their hands don’t do justice to the other 99.9 percent of the population. We have great people and an amazing cultural richness, which we will showcase in our cultural events,” says Khan.
“Some important aspects of Pakistani culture are respect for elders and the warm family bonds. When you have something to celebrate, the whole family parties with you. If you need help, everybody supports you,” says Khan.
Next to music and dance, the festival will be the stage of a calligraphy exhibition, stands with freshly made food and a great party at the end.
“The party is the moment where I can finally take a deep breath,” says Javed. “It is going to be a big celebration, and everyone is welcome to celebrate with us.”
For more information, please visit www.pakistanfestival.com.