This article discusses the concept of ‘culture’, its aspects, and components to serve the learning needs of secondary and higher secondary level students and teachers alike. You can also view a multi-media presentation on the topic at the end to reinforce your learning.
What is culture?
To define narrowly, the term culture refers to the way or style of living of a group of people residing in a particular place or area.
Broadly speaking, the term ‘culture’ refers to a set of language, belief system, cuisine, social habits, music, art and architecture, traditions, customs, beliefs, diet, dress code, etc. which makes a unique lifestyle of a group of people.
What are the components of culture?
Components of culture include languages, dresses, art, crafts, music, festivals, etc. They are elaborated with reference to the culture of Pakistan.
There are dozens of languages spoken as first languages in Pakistan. The languages with more than 10 million native speakers include Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Saraiki, and Urdu. The last being the national language of the country.
The main regional languages are Punjabi, Sindhi, Pashto, Balochi, Hindko, Saraiki, Brahui, Shina, Balti, Kashmiri, Khowar, Dhatki, Burushaski, etc. The first four regional languages are the provincial languages, i.e. Punjabi, Pashto, Sindhi, Balochi.
2. Dress Code
The dress is another important component of the culture of a society. The dress that people of all cultures and regions wear as part of their daily dress code is Shalwar Qameez. As a matter of fact, shalwar kameez is called the national dress of Pakistan. Having said that, it is important to note that variance in the type of shalwar kameez exists from region to region and community to community.
As defined above, “culture is a lifestyle or way of living”. By this definition Pant shirts also have become part of our dress code esp in urban settings.
Pakistan has a rich history in all the visual arts i.e. paintings, architecture, textiles, decorative designs, sculptures, etc. Religion Islam has a huge influence on visual arts in Pakistan as the artists mostly have been demonstrating a preference for different geometric shapes. Nevertheless, Pakistani artists have produced a great variety of traditional and modern-day designs in visual arts.
Pakistani crafts are famous and in high demand in other countries due to their fine quality and uniqueness. Popular Pakistani crafts include carpets, earthen pots, glazed tiles, cotton garments, camel lamps, khussa, Peshawari Chappal, wood carvings, ethnic jewelry, etc.
Music is an important part of the culture of Pakistan. Pakistani music is a blend of diverse elements of the music of different parts of South Asia, Central Asia, the Middle East, and the Modern-day West. These multiple influences of classical and modern-day music over the course of time have led to the emergence of distinctive Pakistani music.
There are many families that have inherited mastery in different musical genres from their ancestors. For instance, Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan belong to one of such families. Others include Ustad Shafaqat Amanat Ali Khan, Ustad Ghulam Farid Nizami, etc. Farid Nizami is a renowned sitar player and a Sufi singer.
The term Festival refers to a day that a community celebrates usually once a year. Festivals are of two types; religious and cultural.
Religious festivals of Pakistan include Eidul Fitr, Eidul Azha, Eid Melad un Nabi, Dewali, Holi, Christmas, etc.
Cultural festivals of Pakistan include Basant, Nouroz, Hence (Sindhi cultural festival), Nawa Wraz and Sheshbeeyeh (Pashtun Festivals), Sibi, and Buzkashi (Baloch Festivals), etc.