RAMANDEEP KAUR | NT BUZZ
It is said that Punjabis need no reason to celebrate and as the Sikh community is geared up for Vaisakhi celebrations today, there is no end to their happiness. Vaisakhi, one of the most significant Sikh festivals is not just a harvest festival for Sikhs but it has a lot of importance as the tenth Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh laid the foundation of Khalsa Panth (the worldwide community of Khalsa (baptised Sikhs are called ‘Khalsa’) on the day of Baisakhi in 1699. It is observed in several parts of North India, especially in Punjab.
How the Sikh community
celebrates Vaisakhi in Goa?
There is no doubt that the Sikh community is a minority in the state, hence, the celebrations won’t be the same as in their native, Punjab. However on this day, Sikh devotees gather at the nearby gurudwara to offer prayers and rejoice. Navleen Kaur, a resident of Bastora, Mapusa says: “On this day, I usually visit the gurudwara along with my family where we do ‘Seva’ and even participate in the special prayer meet marked for the day. Later, the people head towards the langar hall where they sit in rows to relish the especially made langar.”
She adds that the enthusiasm on the occasion of Vaisakhi is not as much as compared to Punjab. “In Punjab during Vaisakhi one can find colourful fairs at several places. The craze of what suits the women are wearing or which sweets and dishes will be prepared is seen all around; the festive atmosphere spreads one week ahead, unlike in Goa.”
Born and brought up in Goa, Prabhjyot Singh from Santa Cruz says: “Vaisakhi is a very important occasion for Sikhs as it’s the creation day of ‘Khalsa Panth’. So all of our family members and friends we get together at the gurudwara in our traditional attire. We prepare langar for the devotees.” He adds that on this auspicious day they also teach and keep turban tying competitions for children. “We also have the Sikh baptism ceremony known as Amrit Sanchar for those willing to get baptised as a Singh.”
Vasco-based Ekta Singh says that in Goa they don’t celebrate Vaisakhi but back in their native place they celebrate it with preparing a lot of sweets like Chikki and in the evening they get together with their friends and have typical Punjabi traditional celebrations.
Ishika Latwal who has been living in Goa for the 17 years, says that she visits the gurudwara on the occasion, but finds the celebrations slightly different from her native place: “In the North, we have Vaisakhi Mela and many more cultural programmes.”
Based in Goa for the past 26 years, Jaswinder Singh from Vasco says that he celebrates Vaisakhi in the same way as in Punjab, except for the folk dances in colleges, institutions and schools.
Food prepared on the occasion
Festivals are said to be the identity of Indian society, and thus the zeal of celebration is carried all over the festive season with some festive food. Navleen says that the morning begins with the Pillowy soft bhaturas teamed with ‘chole’. She adds: “This is a fiery start to my day, accompanied with a glass of lassi. Vaisakhi is incomplete without this delicious peeley chawal – the perfect festive treat.”
Ekta says that curd and beaten rice are compulsory as also is ‘sarso ka saag’. “In the evening we make plain roti or bajra roti, she says. Ishika says their specialities for the day include jalebis, chhole and puri.
Whereas Prabhjyot says that they do not make anything in specific for the occasion. He says: “We just make random items like dal, sabji, rice, roti, kheer, jalebi, fruit salad, dahi chat and suji halwa.”
Vaisakhi celebrations at Panaji and Vasco Gurudwaras
On the occasion of Khalsa Sajna Diwas (Vaisakhi), Gurudwara Shri Guru Singh Sabha, Betim is organising Kirtan by Bhai Gagan Deep Singh ji (Ganga Nagar wale) from12:30 a.m. to1:45 p.m. and Gurmat Katha Vichar by Bhai Amrik Singh Ji (Chandigarh wale) from 1:45 p.m. to 2:45 p.m. on April 14 at Gurudwara Shri Guru Singh Sabha, Betim, followed by Guru ka Langar.
Similarly, Gurudwara Sri Guru Singh Sabha, Vasco has organised a Kirtan Darbar from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., which will be followed by langar.