In Pakistan, December 25 is a holiday, but it is in memory of Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan. As in India, Christians are a very small part of the population.
But since Pakistan has a population of more than 162 million people, there are more than 5 million Christians! Most Christians in Pakistan live in the country and are quite poor.
In Christian festivals, such as Christmas and Easter, a large procession takes place in Lahore, from the Church of San Antonio to the Cathedral. It takes hours to get to the cathedral for services. These are celebrated with great enthusiasm! Before and during Advent, spiritual seminars are held to help people prepare for Christmas or “Bara Din” (which in Urdu and Punjabi means the “Great Day”). This expression is very popular, even among Muslims in Pakistan.
During the last week of Advent, in many Christian areas, the song of the carols is interpreted by several groups. They go from house to house singing Christmas carols and, in exchange, the family offers something to the choir. Mainly, the money raised from such carols is used for charities or given to the church.
In large Christian areas, each house is decorated and has a star on the ceiling. The streets are also decorated and illuminated. The crib and the Christmas tree are also important decorations. Sometimes there are crib competitions! Christians also sometimes exchange Christmas cakes.
On Christmas Eve, churches are packed for midnight or vigil services. The choirs sing very special hymns. After the vigil, in some places, there are fireworks that help celebrate the beginning of Bara Din. People dance, exchange gifts and enjoy the special night.
In Bara Din or on Christmas day, Christians go to church again for Bara Din celebrations. People wear their best colorful clothes. They can stay in the courtyard of the Church for hours, enjoying various foods from the different stalls. The night is usually celebrated with immediate family or relatives where you can enjoy special food. Adults often visit their parents.
In Pakistan, Santa Claus / Santa Claus is known as ‘Christmas Baba’.