THE PUNJABI HERTAGE & CULTURAL SOCIETY
FESTIVAL OF INDIA
VAISHAKHI FESTIVAL - 2012
Saturday, MAY 5, 2012
Birmingham Community Charter High School Grounds
Van Nuys, California
Van Nuys, California, May 05, 2012
Vasu Pawar/Gary Singh
The Festival of Vaishakhi, is celebrated all over India, and is best celebrated in the Sikh community, in the Rich, Agricultural State of Punjab, and Hariyana, India as the Sikh New Year. Baishakhi marks the harvest time of the Rabi (winter) crops. Farmers are loaded with cash and are fully contented, to be transposed into cheerful sprits and enlightened minds. Vaishakhi has a special significance to the Sikhs as on this day in 1699 their 10th Guru Gobind Singh organized the order of the Khalsa – Brotherhood of Saint Soldiers to fight against tyranny and oppression.
This festival brings all the villagers together at the Holy Gurudwara where men are decked in traditional colorful lungi, kurta and women in salwar kameez or lehenga and further adorned with gorgeous traditional jewelry and hair styles. They meet and greet and perform the energetic Bhangra and Gidda dance and men and women participate equally incorporating and denoting the farming scenes of sowing, harvesting, winnowing and gathering of crops with zestful movements in their dance style. This is one community that eats and drinks and enjoys life to the fullest.
This Vaishakhi Festival could not be better presented or hosted, other than the “Punjabi Heritage & Cultural Society” and “Festival of India” Los Angeles Group at the Birmingham High School Grounds, in Van Nuys, California, where 8,000-10,000 people of different faiths, cultures and communities representing Bangladesh, Gujarat, Shri Lanka, Pakistan, etc., attended the function in their traditional Indian and Punjabi Outfits to highlight the occasion. It was amazing to see how well the committee members organized this function, and how well they attended to each and every aspect of the function and controlled this huge crowd and truly deserve applause. The Vaishakhi Mela began at 3:00 pm at the Birmingham High School Ground which was surrounded with various booths from traditional food, to clothing to jewelry, and several business booths as well. You could see everyone enjoying and mingling with friends and acquaintances, eating, chatting, there were games for little kids and music in the air.
The Chief Guests of honor were Dr. Amarjit Singh Marwah and Dr. Piara Singh two prominent community individuals of the Los Angeles Punjabi Community. The support from the local government was tremendous, with Congressman Brad Sherman and Howard L. Berman both spoke about the necessity of an increased support and recognition of the Indian Community in the United States. The Board of Directors would appreciate the assistance for NRI press to help promote VAISAKHI function in the future.
There was VIP sitting arrangements across from the center stage, for Sponsors, Donors and Executive Individuals. The Entertainment began around 7:00 pm with performances from local community groups all focused pretty much on Vaishakhi Festival, like the Giddha, Bhangara etc.. It was a never experienced concept of serving hot food, chicken kabobs, samosa, pakoras, water etc in the VIP section to all the VIP guests that attended the function.
Although there was a delay in the main program “JAZZY B CONCERT” due to technical difficulties with the sound system, Mrs. Asha Sharma the MC of the evening kept the crowd rocking and entertained with her compelling, commanding, convincing and dynamic jokes and Punjabi phrases which made everyone speechless and brought back memories directly from Punjab. It was amazing how this powerful woman did not let the crowd go astray even for a moment and kept entertaining for several hours, until the sound system finally got fixed and the entertainers of the day, Jazzy B and Sherry Mann two popular singers from Canada actually made it to the stage. Time knew no bounds once they began with their mesmerizing songs and entertainment. The audience participated with claps, dancing and singing as each song kept coming, superseding the one before. What could be more rewarding than the crowd leaving the place delectably entertained and expecting more and more?.