Vaisakhi is coming up soon, so I thought I would post about some memorable past experiences of celebrating Vaisakhi:
Every Saturday my brother and I, my cousins and some other local children would go to Saturday school in the morning and learn Panjabi from my Bhua jee (paternal aunt). Looking back it was fun going to classes (at the time I thought "I am missing out on Saturday morning cartoons and a nice lie in!"). I learnt so much and my bhua jee gave me and the other children a foundation not just in Panjabi language but also we learnt about Sikhi, culture and values. I started going to Panjabi classes when I was 5 or so, and finished at 12 years old when I completed my Panjabi GCSE (in 1998).
In 1996, my Bhua jee got our Panjabi class to act in a play for the Vaisakhi celebrations, which was to be held at the local Secondary School where we learnt Panjabi. We were given acting roles and a script to learn from. The play was ALL in Panjabi. In short the story line was that a man called 'Santa'. It was based on a group of farmers. A man comes to the village and makes an announcement drumming his drum. He roars, "Hear up, hear up, hear up! A message from Guru Gobind Singh jee. The Sangat has been invited to attend Vaisakhi gathering at Sri Anandpur Sahib...." Santa responds to Guru's call and attends. The drama manifests as Santa comes back to the village and meets the village locals who ask him why he is looking the way he is and why is face glowing. Santa then answers them and explains the wonders of Guru Gobind Singh jee and how he is now "Santa Singh".
Here are some photos:
I played the role of "Santa Singh". All the people participating had cut hair, however ALL of them enjoyed having a dastaar tied. I always loved wearing a Dastaar and especially dressing up as an Amritdhari (hoping that one day Guru jee will bless me to become a Gursikh).
My brother and I.
The local Lord Mayor was invited to the function. After the play he presented trophies to all the children who participated in the drama.
That's Daas (after the play).
In 1999, during the tri-centinary Vaisakhi celebrations, my family and I were discussing what the local children could do to participate in the celebrations and feel involved. My parents suggested that the Vaisakhi drama play acted in 1996 was successful and fun for the children, so why not do another play. So, I put forward the suggestion to the local children from the Panjabi class, which my dad now taught. The children seemed to like the idea.
My dad and I sat together and put together a simple Panjabi script based on the same idea as we did in 1996. The children were given one or two lines each, which they all could easily act out. A big Vaisakhi celebration programme was held at Leamington Spa. In the Royal Spa Centre there were various talks, lectures and presentations. We were given the opportunity to act the play there infront of a full audience (the hall was packed!). The children were nervous but the play was fairly short so they were okay.
Here are some photos from the Vaisakhi 1999 drama play:
A group photo of everyone who participated. (I'm standing at the back in the blue dastaar).
During gurpurbs its nice to involve children. INVOLVEMENT is the key for children to feel a PART of something. Involve children in school and they will enjoy school. Involve children in sports and games and they will take interest. Similarly, if children are involved in the Gurdwara or Sikhi related activities then they will take interest and ENJOY it.
Don't sit back but take ACTIVE PART. Don't wait for people, an uncle jee, or the Gurdwara Committee to ask you to do something for the youth, instead take INITIATIVE and allow the Guru to use you as a vehicle to do community work and share the SPIRIT of Sikhi with the young people. Share your ideas with others and everyone will contribute, and then just watch Guru jee do wonders!
bhul chuk maaf.