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Teeyan 2018: Hundreds of Sikh women celebrate with dance and song in Chigwell

PUBLISHED: 11:00 12 July 2018 | UPDATED: 11:55 12 July 2018

Members of the Sikh Women's Alliance celebrate Teeyan. Photo: Balvinder Saund

Members of the Sikh Women's Alliance celebrate Teeyan. Photo: Balvinder Saund

Archant

More than 300 Sikh women came together to mark Teeyan - the traditional festival for celebrating the bond between mother and daughter.

Members of the Sikh Women’s Alliance and their friends and family gathered at the Guru Gobindh Singh Khalsa College, in Roding Lane, Chigwell, for their annual event on Saturday, July 7.

Packed inside the drama hall, the guests danced Ghidda together – a folk dance which involves clapping while dancing in circles – and sang a sentimental songs including Mawam Dheeyan.

“[The song] is about a mum and daughter sitting together and confiding in one another,” said SWA chairwoman Balvinder Saund.

“Ladies normally start crying when they sing the song because they remember their mothers who have passed away.”

She added: “In fact, one person said ‘let’s not sing this song, we don’t want to be crying’.

“Others responded by saying that Teeyan cannot be Teeyan without this song.”

The SWA revived its tradition of celebrating Teeyan day 15 years ago, following the suggestion of the headteacher of Guru Gobindh Singh Khalsa College Amarjit Singh Toor.

Originating in the Punjab region of India, Teeyan is increasingly being celebrated among diaspora across the globe.

“Where once the ladies were too shy to step on stage and sing into the mic, now they fight for time and line up to perform,” Ms Saund added.

“They are now excelling in arts, drama and TV and many have opened up their own businesses, after starting on stalls.

“They find confidence to empower themselves and follow careers which inspire them.

“SWA is pleased to offer them a safe secure environment where they can pass on their skills to the younger generation and have an afternoon away from life’s stresses just for themselves.”

As well as the performances, many woman sold food, clothing and jewellery at stalls.

The SWA advocates women assert themselves within male-dominated environments and against cultural traditions – such as dowry payments and expensive weddings which make them a burden upon their parents.

Members also call upon men to create less hostile environments for women.

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