Not unlike Americans celebrating the 4th of July in Frogner Park, Oslo’s large Pakistani community was gathering at Ekeberg on Tuesday to celebrate their national day. For some children with Pakistani roots, it means they get to march in two national parades: Norway’s on the 17th of May and Pakistan’s on the 14th of August.
13-year-old Layba Khan told newspaper Aftenposten that she was looking forward to go first in the late morning parade. Since her grandmother was visiting from Pakistan, it was extra exciting that she’d get to see Khan leading off the parade, along with her three siblings.
14-year-old Iyan Hashim Awan was due to give a speech (in Norwegian) about what he called “the vision behind Pakistan.” Around 40 young Pakistanis have been rehearsing all summer for speeches and singing the Norwegian and Pakistani national anthems.
The Pakistani children’s parade has been held since 2003, which was moved up to Ekeberg after Pakistan’s embassy in Oslo gathered most Norwegian-Pakistani organizations to mount a joint celebration that includes games, music, the sale of Pakistani food and kite-flying. Around 5,000 people took part last year.