Sikh Festival Celebrates Women & Girls

Teeyan Da Mela is a celebration of all things female, in particular daughters....

The Sikh community – more accurately about half of it – gathered to celebrate an Indian tradition on Saturday.

Teeyan Da Mela is a celebration of all things female, in particular daughters.

No men are allowed, except you,” Aman Malhi, one of the organizers, said with a laugh to the Brant News reporter.

In fact, the only men at the event held at the Branlyn Community Centre were a DJ, security guard and caterer.

The festival has its roots in India.

Once a year around this time of year all the women get together,” Malhi said. “They just kind of celebrate their independence and they just want to have fun without any stress.”

The celebration includes music, dancing and often, at least in India, swings strung from trees.

Back home in olden days they used to put the swings by themselves on the trees and lots of girls would swing and everyone was helping, singing along,” Malhi said.

About 300 to 400 women and girls were expected to attend the event organized by the Brantford Sikh community, many coming from other cities including Toronto, Kitchener and Cambridge.

The local Teeyan da Mela has grown by leaps since it began more than a dozen years ago with a small gathering of about 15 women in Mohawk Park.

Women and girls were dressed in colourful clothing including Punjabi suits, which is part of Sikh culture and religion.

If it’s bright, it’s the colour of joy,” Malhi said.

There were no swings but there was plenty of dancing, including the gida, a common dance in India.

Tal Indian Cuisine catered the event. There were raffle and door prizes and one lucky woman from all those over age 80 at the festival was going home with a gift of gold earrings.


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