Pakistani culture celebrated at Oslo’s international festival

Syed Sibtain Shah
Pakistani qawwal's in Oslo. 

OSLO: The rich and diverse culture of Pakistan was celebrated at the three-day multi-cultural festival held this week in the capital city of Norway.

Famously known as Oslo Mela, the festival is held every year. It was started in 2001 by Pakistanis who migrated to Norway as guest workers in 1970s and 1980s.

Later, this festival started representing other cultures, including those of Afghanistan, Somalia, Iraq and Iran with people from these countries also moving to Norway as immigrants.

People at a food stall at Oslo Mela. 

A prominent Pakistani personality, Nadeem Rashid, lauded the efforts made for the festival, saying the credit of its success goes to Norwegian Pakistanis who have represented their country well by working hard in Norway.

At the festival held this week, traditional songs were played along with dances local to various countries being represented. Food of different countries was also served.

The Pakistani dishes served at the festival included chapal kabab, chicken tikka, seekh kabab and the stall that attract the most number of people was the one where sugarcane juice was being sold. It was for the first time that sugarcane juice was featured in the food section of the festival.

Pakistani truck. 

A team of three Norwegian Pakistanis — Zulqurnain Aslam, Hafiz Gulzar and Imtinan Malik — who introduced the Pakistani sugarcane juice in the festival said they did so to bring something new to the festival.

Incharge of food stalls at the festival, Syed Hasnain Ashar said, all the food available at the festival were highly hygienic, of good quality and halal.

Other than food, dances and songs, a Pakistani truck was also parked at the festival to showcase the country’s most talked about truck art.

The Oslo mela seeks to promote cultural ties between different communities based in Norway.

The mela is also used as a platform to introduce some of the most talented artists of the world, becoming a place where cultural horizons are broadened and new art expressions explored.

This year, Pakistani artists Faiz Ali Faiz and members of Sham Chorasi family Rafaqat Ali Khan and his son Bakht Ali Khan performed during at the festival.

With the passage of time, the mela has evolved into one of the leading international European festivals of its kind. It attracts around 300,000 people every year and features an incomparable line-up of diverse art expressions from Africa, Asia, America and Europe.