Christmas is celebrated as the birthday of Jesus Christ. Jesus was born some 2000 years ago. To commemorate Jesus birthday event and to inculcate the sequence of that miraculous event in the children, plays are performed in the churches. Churches and houses are decorated by the Christian community almost on the first of December.
Multan, Gujranwala, Karachi, Sialkot wherever Christian community lives across Pakistan the churches have been decorated since December 1st. Colourful lights and stars, buntings and bells can be seen in the streets of Christian colonies and churches.
In Churches choirs are practicing of the Christmas hymens. Some choir members and Sunday school students are doing rehearsals for the Christmas play. To take care of the Christian community some churches have provided food items and dresses as gifts to the orphans and widows.
Some markets, hotels and streets are decorated to attract the visitors. Markets are filled with the hordes of people who are doing shopping for the upcoming event of Christmas. Children and elders have done the shopping but some youngsters are waiting for the Christmas evening or 24th December. Some have purchased the traditional while others have purchased western dresses.
All the bakeries are making special Christmas plum cakes. Some hotels are booked for celebration of Christmas get together.
In Pakistan, December 25th is a public holiday, but it is in memory of Muhammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. Because Christians make up a very small part of the population in Pakistan, their festivals are not given as much importance as the festivals of majority of the population.
Most Christians in Pakistan spend quite poor life still they celebrate the birthday of Jesus Christ with full zeal and zest. Before Christmas they do shopping for children in December and decorate their houses with a Christmas tree and crib. They hang a big shining star with a pole and stick it to their roof. We can find decorated streets in the Christian colonies. In many Christian areas, carol singing is performed by various groups. They go from house to house singing carols and in return the family offers something to the choir. Mostly the money collected from such carols is used for charity works or is given to the church.
In middle and elite Christian class exchange of Christmas cakes begins on 24th of December. As per tradition all the guests are given the refreshment of dry fruits, special Christmas plum cake, hunter beef along with coffee. Elder and young attend the evening Christmas prayer. On the Christmas evening Churches are packed for the midnight or vigil-mass services. The choirs sing very special hymns. After the vigil-mass, in some places, there are fireworks. Some youngsters on Christmas evening make special arrangements of Bar Be Que on their roof tops. They sing Christmas carols exchange greetings on phone to their friends and relatives living abroad. In the meanwhile females cook sweet dishes for breakfast.
On the Christmas morning all the Christian families after breakfast get ready for the church prayer. They wear their best colorful clothes. They can stay in the Church courtyard for hours, enjoying various food from the different stalls.
In different churches special security arrangements are made for the protection of any mishap. In different cities of Pakistan the churches organize big processions for example in Lahore, a big procession marches from St. Anthony’s Church to the Cathedral. It takes hours to reach the Cathedral for the services. Before and during Advent, spiritual seminars take place to help people to prepare for Christmas. Usually the evening is celebrated with immediate family or relatives where special food is enjoyed.