Shivratri 2014 - Miami Style!

News and Events
Shivratri 2014 - "Miami Style!"
Miami, Florida (USA) March 15-16, 2014
The South Florida Kashmiri Biradari recently celebrated the auspicious festival of "Heyrath" or "Shivratri" as it is popularly known by the Indians all over the world. This festival holds a special place in the hearts of the K Pandits here in S. Florida, as we have been celebrating this festival with the whole community as an extended family, for many years now. Each year the preparations begin weeks in advance with all community members joining in with much enthusiasm, and the whole atmosphere coming alive with planning and practicing for the event. This is our way to preserve our rich culture and traditions and celebrate it with the young and old of the community.

This year, the two part celebrations were held on the weekend of 15 th March, with the cultural program and dinner on the first day. Our Gracious hosts for this year were Vijay and Vandana Kaul, who welcomed the biradari members in their home with open arms. Everyone arrived in their colorful traditional attire and greeted each other and were then invited to a spread of delicious appetizers. As the new members met and mingled with the others, the evening soon proceeded to the cultural show in which all the members of the community participated and performed very enthusiastically.

The cultural show began with the kids doing the "Universal prayers", invoking the blessings of the Almighty for peace and happiness for all! These sincere prayers then changed into melodious notes of bhajans sung in the glory of Lord Shiva and Ganesha. Whether it was high spirited "Ganesh Sharnam" and "Dum dum damaroo baje", or softer melody "Itni shakti hamen dena daata", and even "Jaise suraj ki garmi se", the kids mesmerized the audience with their beautiful bhajans one after the other. These were followed by an awesome Bharatnatyam performance on "Ma Saraswati Vandana" and an enchanting flute recital on "Om jai jagdeesh hare". Some of the kids also presented wonderful speeches explaining the meaning and significance of Shivratri. That was not all, these very talented group of kids had everyone clapping and cheering when they presented the Kashmiri folk dance - Rouf, on the foot tapping melody,"Rosh Wallah myane dilbaro" and even a catchy dance performance on a popular hindi song.

All the children were later awarded "Certificates of Participation" for their involvement in the "Preserve Our Heritage" function that was held in December of 2013. These certificates were distributed to the kids by an eminent member of our Community, Shri. Bansi Bhan, whom we address as "Bhan Saab".

The first half of the cultural program was totally prepared and presented by the kids and even the emcee of the show was a talented young adult of the community. The equally talented adults of the S. Florida KP community had special items up their sleeves too. Several members presented a variety of melodious Shiva and Shakti bhajans in hindi as well as in kashmiri. After the bhajans, the mood shifted to a lighter mode, and the men and the women formed two separate groups and got quizzed on the popular kashmiri words and their meaning. After a very interesting match, the ladies scored over the men in the activity. The last item and also the highlight of the evening was the "Sholay" skit remake in kashmiri. The interaction between "Gabbar Bobuji"and his gangsmen, with "Basanti" and "Veeru" had the audience in splits. Everybody really enjoyed as they recalled the popular dialogues between the characters, but in kashmiri this time around! The costumes, props and makeup, everything added even more fun to this comic presentation and awesome performances of various artists.

After the cultural program, everyone was treated to an amazing spread of mouth watering, authentic kashmiri cuisine prepared lovingly by the ladies of the community. The delicacies like Dumaloo, mutsch, roganjosh, tschok nadur, haak, chaman, paalak nadur, rajmah, doon chatin and muj chatin were savored by young and old as the whole gathering enjoyed the rest of the evening mingling with each other. The ladies were also given "noon" and "athgat" as "zang" before everyone retired for the night.

The second day of the celebration included a day full of fun, food and games in the sunny lawns of Plantation Heritage Park on 16th March. It was a perfect day to spend outside and everyone found their activity to indulge in. As the kids played their favorite games or had fun in the play area nearby, the men enjoyed a game of cricket while the women just relaxed. In the afternoon, everyone enjoyed delicious food catered by the Khosa family, complete with dessert and even "kehwa" for everyone. Later, the kids were given "Heyrath Kharch" by a very esteemed member of the community, Shri. Vijayji Kaul. After a day long outing of fun, food and music, the two day celebrations were brought to a close with group pictures of the whole community.

Congratulations to the S Florida KP Community for celebrating this auspicious occassion as a team, with all the love, togetherness and respect representing the true spirit of the festival. May Lord Shiva grace us with happiness, health and peace for all!!!

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