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Punjabi Community Hosts Vaisakhi Mela 2016

Harneet Kaur

Vaisakhi marks the spring harvest season in Punjab. It is also the beginning of the Punjabi New Year.  Watching the wonderful crops makes the farmers extremely happy. Punjabi farmers celebrate spring harvest by holding big festivals with dance and food.

On April 13, Sikhs from all around the world come together to celebrate Vaisakhi. The religious significance of the holiday is it is the birth of Khalsa. Guru Gobind Rai, tenth Sikh gurus, in Anandpur sahib created the Khalsa in 1699. The Guru baptised the Panj Pyare and then asked the Panj Pyare to baptise him. The Guru went from the name Gobind Rai to Gobind Singh. The Khalsa which means pure was formed.  In the Khalsa, men’s last name is Singh which means lion and women’s Kaur which means Prince.

The New England Punjabi community decided in 2015 to start the tradition of the Vaisakhi Mela. It began when a small group of people were interested in learning the art of Bhangra which is a Punjabi traditional dance.  The whole Mela was organized and held in Bridgewater, MA last year. The tradition continued this year and the Mela was held at a Italian American Center in Worcester, MA on Saturday,  May 21, 2016. It was a wonderful site to see. The aim was to unite the kids with their roots and support a noble cause – to raise funds for a new Gurudwara which is under construction in Westborough, MA

Everybody was dressed in colorful costumes representing Punjab. Sarabjeet Kapoor and Jasline Kaur, who served as masters of ceremony, kicked off the function by emphasizing the importance of Vaisakhi. The Mela started out which is a  Sikh martial arts performance called Gatka. Everyone was intrigued by the Gatka performance as it was the very first time this was presented.

Then came many amazing bhangra performances that were very enjoyable. All dancers looked beautiful and danced enthusiastically. The dancers and dances were the highlight of the show. The best part was watching both older ladies and men doing such an upbeat dance. Everybody loved ladies bhangra and men’s bhangra. All of the teenagers and little kids also showed how they could do such a great dance that reflected their culture.

The names of these groups were Chottai Pattakai, The Punjabens, Paggan Pochamiyan (Men’s Bhangra) , Ankhilay Nachde Sher Gabru , Boston Bhangra students, Nachde Sher Gabru, Punjabi Phuljharia, Bhangra Diamonds, Dhiyan panj daryawan diya (Ladies Bhangra), Kaurageous, and East Coast Bhangra Crew.

Everyone could tell that there was a very big amount of effort put in! Then there were poems about Vaisakhi followed by a hilarious skit. A special performance by Pinky Paras who is a cousin of famous singer Mika singh had everyone dancing. A few other people also sang beautifully. The grand finale was giddha which is a women’s folk dance. It was a great way to end such a successful show. There was a great turn out and the Vaisakhi Mela was a huge success.        

Organizers of the event were Gurpreet Kaur, Gurdip Singh, and Jasline Dhingra. Beautiful pictures and videos were taken by Dr. Parmender Bagga. Many thanks to the sponsors who provided free food and donations. Lastly, thank you to all of the coaches who helped make the performances possible.

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