For the past two generations, the Sandhu family in Chembur has been longing for a girl child. It is this void that the Sikh family has been trying to fill every year on Baisakhi by donating a part of their annual savings in support of the girl child.
“This is a family custom that we have been following for the past 25 years. Baisakhi is the season of new beginnings,” said Mandeep Sandhu, 54, a resident of Chembur.
After a host of new year festivals such as Gudi Padwa, Ugadi and Cheti Chand last month, several communities geared up for the start of the harvest season. On Friday, Punjabis and Sikhs in the city celebrated Baisakhi with prayer processions and langars (community lunch).
“After offering our prayers in the gurudwara on Friday morning, we distributed home-made ‘Kara prasad’ to the children in our locality and spent the evening relishing the community dinner with friends and relatives,” said Amandeep Ahluwalia, 46, a resident of Guru Tegh Bahadur Nagar.
Festivities will continue on Saturday, when the Bengalis, Malayalis and Assamese observe their respective new years. Saturday is Poila Boisakh for the Bengalis, Rongali Bihu for people from Assam and Vishu for the Malayalis.
“We will spend the first half of the day in prayer and exchanging gifts. It is that time of the year, when the three generations of our family reunite over fish and sandesh,” said Tanumoy Poddar, 46, a resident of Vashi, who will celebrate Poila Boisakh on Saturday.