Gatka masters (one from Punjab and the other from Mumbai) perform martial arts, as a part of Baisakhi procession. (Vidya Subramanian/HT photo)
Nearly a month after Maharashtrians celebrated Gudi Padwa, Sindhis Cheti Chand, and Telugus Ugadi, other communities in Mumbai will celebrate their new year on April 14 and 15.
The Sikh community is all set to celebrate Baisakhi, the harvest festival of Punjab on Tuesday. While gurdwaras across the city will host kirtans and langars, a grand event will be held on Ghatkopar’s Garodia ground, where community lunch and kirtans will go on from 5am to 5pm.
“We will also appeal to people to boycott the April 17 release, Nanak Shah Fakir,” said Kulwant Singh, vice-president, Guru Singh Sabha. Nanak Shah Fakir is a biopic on Nanak, which has drawn the ire of Sikhs as it violates the Sikh tenets and norms by portraying Nanak and his family in human form.
For the 4,000-5,000 Assamese people living in the city, Rongali Bihu on Tuesday means a day of tradition and music. Lakhmi Bora, a homemaker, recalled the celebrations in Assam, where women in red-and-white mekhelas perform Bihu dance, while youngsters seek blessings of elders.
“We prepare pitha, a sweet dish of rice and coconut. Men and women wear silk on this day,” said Divya Bora, a working professional. “It is essentially a harvest festival, where farmers harvest rice and offer it to god,” Divya said.
For Keralites, Wednesday is Vishu, the biggest festival after Onam. “It is an auspicious day for us. We wake up early and decorate Lord Krishna’s idol with kanikonna flowers. We also distribute coins to children,” said Shineeva P, 35, a homemaker.
Some Tamil Iyers also celebrate Vishu the same day. Mukund Anand, 21, a student from Chembur, said, “We wear new clothes, and receive gifts from our elders on this day.”
The thriving Bengali community in the city will also celebrate their new year on Wednesday. On Poila Baisakh, sweets are prepared at home, new clothes are bought and gifted, and friends and relatives come together.
Sumita Ghosh, a retired professor from KJ Somaiya College of Arts and Commerce, said, “We cook delicacies on this day. Various fish preparations are made. Vegetarian dishes such as echor er dalna (curry with jackfruit) and aam er chutney (raw mango chutney) are also prepared.”