Women and girls of the local Punjabi American community came together to celebrate the annual Teeyan festival at the Merced Senior Center last Saturday.
Teeyan is the regional name for the festival of Teej that is celebrated in Punjab, India with great enthusiasm. This festival celebrates the onset of the Monsoon season (Sawan) and focuses on sisters and daughters. Married women go to their paternal home to celebrate the Teeyan festivities. In fact, it was customary
for newlywed girls to spend the whole month of Sawan with their parents. Meanwhile, brothers bring gifts to their married sisters called Sandhara. The gifts include Punjabi suit, bangles, ladoos, and mehndi.
During the Teeyan celebrations, girls and women gather in an open ground outside of the village where they enjoy the swing (Peengh) hanging from trees and perform Punjabi dance called Giddha. They also enjoy traditional delicacies like gulgule, manday, maalpoore, halwa and kheer. (Indian food variety, but also seasonal food.)
This independent celebration by Punjabi girls and women is also a symbol of women empowerment.
As part of Merced’s local celebration, there was plenty of dancing — Giddha, Gujrati and South Indian dance — along with skits on stage. There were also local vendors with jewelry, clothing and food; face painting for kids, and live music provided by the legendary DJ Virk of Livingston.
This year’s annual Teeyan festival in Merced was the first since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.