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BAISAKHI, THE SIKH NEW YEAR

Baisakhi With Punjabi Kudis ....

The Ladies Bunco (a dice game) group of Flower Mound, Texas, meets once a month and each month is a themed party. It was Manu Shahi's turn to host the monthly event for the month of April. Since she hails from Chandigarh, Punjab, she thought of making it an event to commemorate Baisakhi, to honor Punjabi culture, to memorialize the colors of Punjab and last but not the least, to celebrate Punjabi food. We were all asked to come dressed in colorful Punjabi outfits. Of course, when there is dressing up involved, there is posing and picture taking galore. Following the picture taking, the ladies were treated to scrumptious Punjabi food, the menu being- Kadhi-Chawal, Sarson Da Saag-Makki De Roti, Lahori-Fish and Masala Baigan with some delicious Punjabi accompaniments like Haldi Ka Achaar (tumeric pickle) (look out for the recipes soon in our recipe section). There was lot of laughter and merriment as we all enjoyed the food, played Bunco and ended the evening with Paan Petha (Petha is a sweet from Agra, India. Paan Petha is a flavor of Petha inspired from Paan, a preparation made with betel leaf and areca nut commonly chewed by the people of Northern India)  . 

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"Although Manu was the only Punjabi in the group, we all loved being Punjabi for a day", said Sushmita Angana, one of the ladies in the group. "Loved the authentic Punjabi food, Punjabi kudi (girl from Punjab) and fake Punjabi kudis at the Bunco", added Debjani Banerjee, another friend as eceryone thanked Manu for hosting a wonderful party. 

"Only one true Punjabi, but who cares ... We were all Punjabi by Nature that day", said Manu, referring to the popular restaurant chain of Delhi, as she later thanked the women in the group for 'filling the house with color, laughter, love and loud Punjabi style noise'.

 It was a wonderful evening, an ode to Punjabi culture celebrated with "dil, dost, dawat and thodi si daru" (heart as in heartfelt sentiments, friends, feast and little bit of alcohol), in Manu's words.


By Sonal Kulshrestha

(Sonal is a programmer by profession and a writer by passion. She lives in Texas, USA) 

(Pictures below- Kadhi-Chawal, Lahori-Fish, Sarson Da Saag-Makki De Roti, and Masala Baigan (look out for the recipes soon in our recipe section). 

About the festival ...

Baisakhi or Vaisakhi Festival is celebrated as the Sikh New Year and the founding of the Khalsa Panth. History of Baisakhi traces its origin from the Baisakhi Day celebrations of 1699 organized by the Tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh to form Khalsa - Brotherhood of Saint Soldiers to fight against tyranny and oppression. 

The auspicious festival of Baisakhi is celebrated on first day of Vaisakh month (April-May) according to the Nanakshahi calendar. Hence, the festival of Baisakhi is also popularly known as Vaisakhi. According to Gregorian Calendar, Baisakhi falls on April 13 every year and on April 14 once in 36 years. This variation in date is due to the fact that date of Baisakhi is reckoned according to the Indian solar calendar and not the lunar calendar.

Vaisakhi marks the beginning of the new spring year and the end of the harvest of rabi crop in India. The festival is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm in agriculture dominated state of Punjab and Haryana. Here, farmers thank God for the bountiful harvest and pray for prosperity in the coming year. To celebrate the day, people wake up early and take a dip in the holy rivers. Soon after, cries of “Jatta aai Baisakhi" rent the skies as the people of Punjab attired in their best clothes break into the Bhangra dance to express their joy.

(Source: About the festival taken from baisakhifestival.com)

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