LOHRI

 

Bonfires lit to the ancient traditions

Families sitting encircled in unifications

Winter solstice bringing in the longer days

This harvest festival in gratitude prays

January the thirteenth being auspicious

This annual fun and frolic so ambitious

Eating sheaves of corn from new harvest

Gurh, gachjak and the cane to sweetest

Singing the tales of mythical Dulla Bhatti

Relishing sarson da saag with makki di roti

Treating children to gifts and festive eats

Tossing peanuts and sweet sesame treats

In the bonfire traditional to drum beats

Welcoming newlyweds in the household

Or celebrating the first winter of the child

Lohri festival of the Punjabi Hindus and Sikhs

Celebrated by Sindhis in the world as Lal Loi

Worshipping the Goddess of harvest called  Loee

Wherein children collect sticks long wooden

Light bonfires, sing and dance as brethren

Sikiladi

—————————————————————————————————————————————–Published in the Coffee Table Book “DIWALI and Beyond” 2017 by The Asian Weekly:

Lohri poem 2017 TAW

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EID AL FITR

 

The feast of fasting comes here

A festival that calls for share and care

For all those faithful so Islamic

The day observed with zest terrific

Bringing to end the month Ramadan

When fasting formed a vital form

Begin the day with a sweet something

Signifying new sweet beginnings

And praying Fajir in the local masjid

The incantation of Allah’s name sacred

The reading of Tabkirat becoming Divine

Adorning new clothes upon being well showered

Originating from the Holy Prophet Mohamed

The Eid Al Fitr commences Shawwal Hijri month

The Takbirs in praise of Allah the Great in gratitude

Forming a ritualistic Jamaat or a Prayer gathering

Giving Alms to the poor and wishing all well

Greeting and hugging to happiness swell


Published in The Coffee Table Book “DIWALI and Beyond” 2017 by The Asian Weekly:

Eid poem 2017 TAW

CHETI CHAND FESTIVAL

The Hindu Sindhis celebrate Cheti Chand as their New year. Since the partition of India only a fraction of Sindhis remained in Sindh territory which came under Pakistan. Thousands of Sindhi families that were forced to abandon their abode during the partition of the country migrated to India and various other parts of the world. Since there is no state that belongs to this growing community, they are recognized as world citizens and have adapted themselves to respective cultures and continents. The uniting factor is their culture that marks Cheti Chand as their day of identity.

Cheti Chand is celebrated as the most important annual festival by the Hindu Sindhis all over the world. As per the Hindu Almanac it is celebrated on the second day of the Chaitra month Shukla Paksha coinciding with the Vikram Samvat New Year. Sindhi community commemorates the birth of their Saintly deity Jhulelal on this day marking it as their New Year.

Jhulelal was born in the 10th century in Sindh. Although his exact year of birth is debatable, some believe it to be 1007. The Sumras were ruling over Sindh those days and were very tolerant of all falths that were practiced. However one tyrant ruler Mirkhshah wasn’t very tolerant and threatened people from various religions to convert to Islam or face execution.

The Sindhis fasted for forty days and prayed to River God for protection. On the fortieth day they were promised the birth of their Savior child in Nasarpur by the River God. The child born on the day was accepted by Sindhis as their savior in the trust they had in Dariya Shah (River God). This child whose cradle would rock by itself was named Jhulelal and grew up sooner than his age and protected the Sindhis from conversion by overpowering the ruler’s tyranny.

Since then the birth Anniversary of Jhulelal is celebrated by Sindhis as their main festival. Since post partition of India the Hindu Sindhis landed up in various parts of the world as refugees and in the present times this festival has become to be known as their day of unity called the Sindhiyat Day. This day all around the world the Sindhi Diaspora prepare the Bahirano (a dome made from kneaded flour), sing the Panjras (hymns) of their deity and dance to Chhej traditional music in huge processions. The Bahirano Sahib is immersed in the rivers everywhere following the prayers as an offering to Dariya Shah (Varun Devta)

Jhulelal is also known as Uderolal, Lal Saeen, and Khizr Shah and is worshipped by Hindus and Muslims at his shrine in Sindh equally.

On Cheti Chand day faithful bathe and decorate the huge platters or Bahirano with a large mound of kneaded flour shaped like a dome. This mound is adorned with cardamoms, cloves, crystallized sugar cubes and alongside offerings of fruits, flowers, sweetened rice, coconut and a pot of water are placed. Having placed this affront the idol of the deity devotees partake blessings and in the late evening hours immerse this in the river.

Sikiladi

—————————————————————————————————————————————–Published in the Coffee Table Book “DIWALI and Beyond” 2017 by The Asian Weekly:

Cheti Chand article 2017 TAW

CHETI CHAND

 

The sighting of the new moon

After the dark night of no moon

Signifying the dark moves to renew

Emergence of the beginnings new

Celebrations of their Year New

Sindhis decked up in vibrant hue

Cheti Chand not merely a festival

Speaks of tales of the Sindhi revival

The first appearance of the moon

In the Sindhi month of Chet opportune

Birth Anniversary of patron saint Jhulelal

Also known as their Ishtadeva Uderolal

The day now marked as Sindhiyat Day

By Hindu Sindhis that gather to pray

Adorning the temple room in the homes

And placing in platter the Bahirano domes

Dancing the traditional Chhej holding sticks

And Lighting flour and ghee lamps with five wicks

Sweetened rice with cardamom  flavor

And chick peas boiled with added savor

Unites this day all the Hindu Sindhi commune

As to their Water God they offer tribune

Sikiladi

—————————————————————————————————————————————

Published in The Coffee Table Book “DIWALI and Beyond” 2017 by The Asian Weekly:

Cheti Chand poem 2017 TAW

CHRISTMAS : Celebrating the birth of Christ

 

December’s unique celebration

Hearts full of worship and jubilation

A family time for the entire clan

Their celebratory customs need a plan

Involving heightened economic activity

Christmas celebrated as per one’s Nativity

The songs pre-Christmas get played plenty

Origins of customs and themed music gaiety

The bringing in of the Christmas Tree

Adornment with mistletoe, garland and Holly

Commemoration of the birth of the Child Divine

Born in Bethlehem to Joseph and the Virgin Mary

The twelve days of Christmas and Caroling popular

Lighting the Christingle and humming the jingles

A gifting galore alongside lights and ornaments

Concentric assortment of leaves evergreen

Traditional colors of red, gold and green

Characteristic songs unique from the middle Ages

The Yule Logs famous and Turkey with sages

The giving of greeting cards to Biblical messages

The Romans and Pagans passed on through generations

A worldwide Holiday marking the auspiciousness

Communal Mass in each Cathedral and Church

Midnight prayers on the Eve and preparedness

The ringing of the bell comforting

To Jesus the Lord is  all worshipping

Sikiladi

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In The Media:

Published in the Coffee Table Book- “Diwali and Beyond” 2017 by  “The Asian Weekly”:

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ONAM – Welcoming Mahabali

 

Kerala bursts alive with a bright sight

Whence comes the auspicious light

Commemorating the home coming

Of legendary emperor the great Mahabali

This harvest festival of the Malayalis

In or outside of their native Kerala bliss

Observed with various festivities unique

Racing of boats and floral appliqués

Dancing to the tiger steps and martial arts

Thumbi Thullal and Kummati Kali mask arts

Costumes enthralling and native Onavillu

All forming part for the Malayali Hindu

Onam looked up as the New Year’s Day

In Kerala it being a state Holiday

Honouring the Divine incarnation Vamana Avatar

A significant manifestation of Vishnu Bhagwan

In the Chingham month of Malayalam

Comes a festival with traditional Onapottan

The ten-day long vibrant festival

Culminating on the day of Thirovanum

Gathering blossoms of various hues

To adorn a floral carpet of Pookkalam

Earthen mounds forming pyramids

Of endemic flowers of Dashapushpum

 

Sikiladi

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In The Media:

Published in the Coffee Table Book: “Diwali and Beyond” 2017 by The Asian Weekly :

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KARVA CHAUTH: Fasting for the Loved One

 

The frequent bursts of red and gold

The rapid jingles within wrists fold

The vibrant North Indian women

With marital promises in hearts fold

Giggling away with naughtiness bold

With Henna patterns as good omen

A display of stories on palms are told

Bangles a plenty of glass, or metal gold

Fasting for their love, their wedded men

The Sargi from a mother’s threshold

Is savored in the pre dawn hours cold

Songs they sing in unison akin to a wren

In evening hours in groups the maidens behold

Sitting encircled chanting songs bellowed

Married women sing praises of their men

Emergence of the crescent from the cloud fold

A time to pray in the moonlight’s mould

Prayers sacred every now and then

In each woman’s heartbeat can be trolled

Her husband by her beauty totally bowled

Feeds her a morsel and a sip in hasten

Thus celebrated the Karva Chauth doled

 

Sikiladi

 

In The Media:

Published in the Diwali edition Coffee Table Book 2017 of The Asian Weekly:

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