The national day of Pakistan just went by, and made me realize, how different things are when you are away from your homeland. The day brings back so many memories- the celebrations in educational institutions, the get-togethers, the flags placed on each and every house, the stall selling badges, shirts, flags and other stuff to make the celebration more special. Since the day is a national holiday, everybody used to get a chance to celebrate- national patriotic songs could be heard everywhere, the more excited ones would even paint their faces in green and while (the colors of Pakistani flag) and there would be special discounts offered by various national brands.

The Triggering Question

Now here is a confession- I have never been very active when it comes to the celebrations. However, being away from home made me nostalgic- I miss my homeland, my people and all the festivity that was in the air. The situation triggered a rather unusual thought: is this day somehow linked to patriotism, and the way I think about my homeland? Do the celebrations play their part in growing the zeal within me? The answer came, yes it is!

How are national day celebrations linked to my patriotism?

While the love for your homeland is embedded deep within yourself, it is certainly not inborn. I would dare to differ with the generation notion that you are born with the love of your homeland- no you are not. The feeling is inculcated- by the people around you. It increases you observe how much the country and freedom means to you. When you listen to all the stories behind the creation of your country, when you see your parents, grandparents and close one’s being enthusiastic, you develop the patriotism too. Had you not been subjected to all this- let’s admit it, you would not have been devoted at all.  

How to keep the patriotism alive, especially while living abroad?

Alright so, here is the important one. While you are blessed with the unconditional and unlimited devotion towards your country, it is your responsibility to keep it alive, and also transfer the same to future generations- who do not have the taste of it yet. Since the day is not a national holiday, there are no celebrations in the educations institutions and elsewhere, it is not easy to stay connected with your fellows, and share the zeal with them. Here are, however, a few tips, to feed the patriot inside you, and also familiarize the upcoming generations with the emotional bond that we share with our homeland!
  • Organize a small get together, preferably with some decoration (with flags and related stuff) to make the day special.
  • Wear national clothes, contrasting the national flag accordingly- it might not make a huge difference, but would bring the feel of festivity and celebration.
  • Tell your kids about your country, its history, traditions and customs- utilize this day as an opportunity to focus specifically on your homeland, and how much that means to you.
  • Participate in the community celebrations.
  • Go to work all dressed up for the national day (if your job allows). Females are in a better position to take this up- you can use makeup/ dress to show your patriotism and highlight the importance of your national day.
  • Arrange little sovereigns for your co-workers/ neighbors, to enlighten them about your country and it's tradition

Any small effort to make this day special would count- just don’t let it pass like any other day. No matter who you are, where you belong to and where you live, it is essential to maintain the connection with roots, because they define you, in real sense of the word.
Following are a few pictures from Pakistan’s National Day celebration, organized by the multi-talented Sana Mohsin at her place: