Customs and Traditions

The culture of Chakwal is primarily based on the way of living as taught in Islam; but owing to the fact that Chakwal before independence was an area where a large number of Hindus lived, it is influenced by Hindu rites, rituals and even ideas. The ceremonies of mayun and mehndi, the extravagant expenditures made on feasting guests at death, the hosting of a lavish meal by the bride’s parents on the barat, large dowries for brides, the belief that parents must not stay in the houses of their married daughters, and melas at the mausoleums of pirs are all of Hindu origin. Besides this, the people of Chakwal live a simple and straight life as enjoined by their religion.

 

The joint family system, paternally structured, is still prevalent. The family system is patriarchal and all important household decisions are taken by the eldest male members of the family.  Women generally confine their activities to the kitchen and children, not to say that they do not assist in farming in rural households.

Employment of women, both in rural and urban areas, other than in family farming or sewing and knitting etc. is considered unrespectable, and the male members of the household are the breadwinners. It is not even considered very appropriate to educate women beyond the school or intermediate levels. It is true that the attitudes of people are changing, but the change is very gradual and the old fiber is holding on tenaciously. 

Modesty is considered the most important attribute of a woman and she is required to observe purdah from males who are not closely related to her and whenever she moves outside the house, which is not very often.

The people of Chakwal celebrate on two occasions in the Islamic year: Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha; festivities of Hindu origin like the basant and baisakhi are not celebrated with zeal like other parts of the Punjab.

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