Despite the chilly weather, the unwavering spirit of more than 130 women illuminated the Lakes Hayes Pavilion last Saturday as they came together to revel in the festivities of Teej. Dance, music, cultural traditions, and an abundance of joy were the order of the day at this vibrant gathering.
This women-exclusive event unfolded with a spectacular burst of colors, a showcase of exuberant traditions, and a sense of community bonding that defined the occasion. The celebrations kicked off with the spirited gidda, a folk dance hailing from Punjab, along with melodic renditions of folk songs that echoed through the pavilion. The camaraderie reached new heights with a ramp walk that showcased the attendees’ enthusiasm and spirit, while a lively round of musical chairs kept the merriment alive.
Participation extended beyond the festivities as some women shared their personal journeys in New Zealand, an endeavor that encouraged mutual learning and nurtured connections among migrants, spouses of migrants, and international students finding their place in Aotearoa.
Navneet Kaur, who attended the event, enthused, “Bhartiya Samaj’s Teej is the only celebration in Queenstown that brings together women of the region, providing us an opportunity to showcase the colors and traditions of India right here.”
Jeet Suchdev QSM JP, Chairperson of Bhartiya Samaj Queenstown Charitable Trust, underscored the significance of celebrating traditional festivals like Teej. Suchdev noted, “The objective is to ensure families stay deeply connected to their roots, taking pride in their cultural heritage and identities.”
The spirited participation drew praise from Vice President Poonam Sethi of Bhartiya Samaj Queenstown Charitable Trust. Sethi expressed delight in witnessing the engagement, stating, “We are absolutely thrilled to have women of all ages and backgrounds here, enjoying cultural performances, singing folk music, and taking part in dance performances.”
The event saw a diverse array of women, donned in their traditional attire and adorned with jewelry, coming together from various corners of India – Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra – as well as from Kiwi and Pasifika backgrounds.
Mangal Behal, President of Bhartiya Samaj Queenstown Charitable Trust, lauded the event’s success, deeming it “remarkably successful.” Behal emphasized the importance of such gatherings in enabling women to celebrate festivals in the same traditional manner they cherished back in their home countries.
Teej, celebrated during India’s monsoon season, symbolizes the union of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. On this day, women seek marital bliss, family well-being, and harmony in their married lives.
Bhartiya Samaj Charitable Trust, founded by Jeet Suchdev QSM JP around 28 years ago in Auckland, has established a widespread presence across New Zealand and Australia. With chapters in Auckland, Queenstown, Canterbury, Wellington & Manawatu in New Zealand, and Brisbane in Australia, the trust tirelessly works to assist seniors, newcomers, students, and children in integrating into the New Zealand way of life while preserving a deep connection to Indian traditions and culture.
The Queenstown chapter of Bhartiya Samaj consistently organizes a range of festivals, including Diwali, Holi, Lohri, Teej, alongside dedicated cultural and well-being workshops for women, children, and senior citizens throughout the year. These endeavors passionately cater to the diverse communities thriving in the South Island.
The event was made possible through the support of sponsors and partners, including Queenstown Lakes District Council, NZ Mortgages, Radio Sadeaala, and Bombay Palace.