Today is Pakistan’s Independence Day! If you’re new to the blog, I am Pakistani – and proud of it! Technically, I’m American-Pakistani, as I was born here but my parents emigrated almost 40 years ago to California. I’ve been raised to be proud of my culture and I love how vibrant it is – from our food to our clothing to our languages and so much more! I grew up eating Pakistani food (though I was picky about what I ate), wearing Pakistani clothes to community and cultural functions (idk how to dress to a Western wedding because I’ve never been to one!), and raised learning 3 languages (Urdu, which I can speak, Punjabi which I understand and my parents’ first language, and of course, English). I used to get insulted as a kid if someone dared call me American because I identified so strongly with being Pakistani.
On this day, Pakistan was declared a sovereign nation separate from India thanks to Partition and marks its creation as a nation. Both of my grandfathers and that generation of my family dealt with the hardships that came with Partition (the mass migration between Pakistan and India which incited a lot of violence), so it’s still very close and personal to my family. In modern day, it’s a day that’s celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm in Pakistan with parades, concerts, fireworks, and that means it must include food. When I was younger, we would go to to the Pakistan Day show in San Francisco, where they would have music, dances, speeches, clothes, and food! One year, I was even a part of one of the performances, as the heart of Punjab, as that is the province my family comes from.
Here’s some fun facts about Pakistan! And don’t forget to check out a few of my favorite Pakistani restaurants and recipes below!:
- It’s the 5th most populous country in the world
- There are a variety of ethnic groups: Punjabis (which is what my family is), Pashtuns, Sindhis, Saraikis, Balochs, and more
- English is the official language; Urdu is the national language but less than 10% speak it as a first language. So basically everyone is at least bilingual in Pakistan! Over 60 languages are spoken in the country
- The second largest mountain is located in Pakistan, K-2
- There are many salt mines in Pakistan, which is where that fancy Himalayan pink salt comes from
- One of the world’s earliest major cities in the world is in Sindh, Pakistan – Mohenjo-daro
- While cricket is super popular, field hockey is actually the country’s national sport
- Mirchi Cafe (Fremont, CA)
- Pakwan (San Francisco/Hayward/Fremont, CA)
- Zareen’s (Mountain View/Palo Alto, CA)