Covid-19 takes the Haryanvi festive spirit online

By Our Reporter

Association of Haryanvis in Australia (AHA) host Teej festival on Zoom and Facebook

While COVID-19 has given so much sadness and frustration, it has also given new ways to celebrate festivals. We have heard a lot about the office meetings on Zoom but this time it was a festival that was celebrated on Zoom and Facebook. Covid-19 clearly couldn’t restrain the Haryanvis and Association of Haryanvis in Australia (AHA) who celebrated the festival of Teej on 26 July from 7.30am to noon Indian time on Zoom and Facebook.

AHA celebrated TEEJ virtually in a unique way with great fervour and exuberance despite COVID restrictions in place. More than 600 people joined on Zoom and about 29,000 people watched live on Facebook. People joined not only from Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Gold Coast, etc., but also from India, Canada, U.K., and France.

Keeping with tradition, the event began after invoking the blessings of elders, after which renowned folk artist Mahavir Guddu sounded the conch. Anoop Lather, a senior Haryanvi films actor and father of Ratnavali, Dr. Mahasinh Punia, Director, Department of Cultural and Student welfare at Kurukshetra University, and folk artists Mahavir Guddu, Raghuvendra Malik and Jagbir Rathi graced the Teej Mela as special guests and discussed the preservation of festivals, history of Teej, and the songs and customs of Sawan. Anoop Lather recited the Haryanvi poem “Kothali”. The audience also enjoyed the rendition of Desi Makhol by Dr. Maha Singh Punia, “Tu Raja Ki Raj Dulari” by Mahavir Guddu” and “Bol Tere MitheMithe” by Jagbir Rathi.

Traditional folk songs such as “Samun Ke Ritu Aa Gayi Ri”, “Meethi to Karde Ri Mata Kothali” and “Rimjhim-Rimjhim He Maa Meri Rang Chhuva Ri” by Neeru Naresh, Kirti, Sheila, Sangita, Usha, Taruna, Ritu, Suresh and Sunita added different dimensions to the program. In addition, Parisha, Arnava, Praveen and Monica also did commendable work with their poems about Teej festivals.

The folk dance performed by Meenu Dhull for the song “Kaachi Imli Gadrai Saman Main” was appreciated by all.

There was an online quiz competition themed on Haryana, Teej, and Bollywood which was well attended by more than 100 participants.

AHA members Sanjeev Dalal and Vibhor Sharma said the motivation behind celebrating festivals like Teej is to hand over our cultural heritage to the younger generation as a gift. The tireless efforts of the social institution founded by Haryanvi families living in Australia keep the community together.

Just like brothers visit their sisters to distribute “Kothli” (sweets and clothes) in Haryana, organizers of the event distributed Ghewar and Gulgule (sweets feasted upon by Haryanvis during the month of Saawan) among community members residing in different Australian cities.

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