RAWALPINDI: While the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is observed on 12th Rabi Al-Awwal, the third month in the Islamic calendar, by Muslims all over the world each year, the celebrations in Pakistan this year were unlike anything the nation had ever seen before.
In a video message released last week, Prime Minister Imran Khan urged Pakistanis to celebrate the birth anniversary in an “unprecedented manner” this year.
Pakistanis around the country, and the government, both rose to the challenge.
PM Khan tweeted a photo of his house decorated with lights and lanterns in preparation for the occasion.
For the first time ever, the government held its annual National Rahmatullil Alamin Conference on the birthday of the prophet (PBUH), using the occasion to bring awareness about his life and teachings. Both the PM and President Dr. Arif Alvi addressed the conference.
The government also celebrated the day with the large-scale release of sky lanterns atop the Margalla Hills on the foothills of the capital. Additional Deputy Commissioner for Islamabad Rana Waqas called it the “largest lantern show” in Islamabad.
In images and videos shared on social media, citizens and police officials could be seen releasing hundreds of lanterns into the night sky.
Another major celebration involved the cutting of a cake, reportedly the largest cake ever to be cut in Pakistan on the occasion of Mawlid Al-Nabi. The cake cutting and subsequent distribution of slices to orphanages and people in need was organized by the Islamabad Capital Territory and Capital Development Authority.
Islamabad’s Deputy Commissioner Hamza Shafqaat shared a video of the cake on his official Twitter account.
But what really made the day special this year was how buildings and avenues were decorated around the country.
Photographer Muzaamil Toori shared photos of mosques in the capital decorated for the occasion:
In another post, he showed several buildings lit up:
Islamabadian, a Twitter account known for photos and updates on the capital, shared an image of one of the main thoroughfares in Islamabad:
Deputy Commissioner Shafqat shared a shot from a private home in the state’s capital, saying it was the “best lighting on a private house.”
Journalist Arshad Sharif shared a video showing various buildings and monuments decorated like “never before.”