News and Events
Shivratri Celebrations in Florida
Miami, Fl (USA), February 20, 2016
Maha Shivratri, the most auspicious and revered festival of Kashmiri pandits, is celebrated with great devotion and enthusiasm by people all over the world. In the same spirit, the Kashmiri community in Florida celebrates this sacred festival enthusiastically every year.
As members of a resilient Kashmiri community thousands of miles away from our homeland, we truly understand the burning need to preserve our culture and heritage in today’s changing times. The importance of having our kids experience the beauty of our rich Kashmiri heritage through traditions at home as well as celebrations in the community is the way to ascertain the continuation of these traditions in future generations.
To carry on the traditions, the kids and adults of the South Florida Kashmiri community come together every year and celebrate Shivratri as an extended family, with preparations for this event starting weeks in advance and the celebrations going on for two whole days. This year, the first part of the festivities were held on February 20. The gracious hosts for the evening were part of the founding members of the community- Sarlaji and Dr. Krishan Ganju. Early in the evening, everyone got together at their home and mingled, enjoying a scrumptious spread of sweet and savory Indian snacks.
As the evening progressed, everyone assembled to take part in the cultural show. This has been an integral part of the Miami Shivratri celebrations, as everyone comes together on the same platform and participates in various cultural activities showcasing their talents. The atmosphere slowly came alive with chants of universal prayers and continued to grow as all the children performed one after the other. Whether it was a Kashmiri bhajan, dance, poem, or an instrument recital, every item took the audience to a different level where they could enjoy the performance in its spirit. The program also included a Kashmiri Rouf by young girls who danced to a melodious foot tapping folk song, which was followed by the serene sounds of “Ati Bheeshan” sung by the moms in the community. All the children then received “Heyrath Kharch” and blessings from Papaji.
And that was just the musical bonanza; the aromas of the delicious Koshur cuisine waited on the other side. Soon after, everyone enjoyed a mouthwatering feast of Tschaman, Rogan Josh, Tschok Wangun, Nadur Paalak, Dumaloo, Haaq, and Pulao, which was lovingly prepared by the ladies of the community. The feast went on till the wee hours of the morning, as everyone enjoyed the yummy Roth and hot Kehwa.
The following day was another action packed day, as everyone got back for a fun filled picnic at the Plantation Heritage Park. As the gentlemen discussed sports and politics over the hot barbecue grill, the ladies relaxed in the beautiful sunny park, enjoying an array of snacks and drinks. Meanwhile, the kids had a field day enjoying the swings and playing different games. The evening came to a close with the ladies of the community receiving blessings from Bhabhi in the form of “Noon” and “Atghat” as “zang.”
Moments like these are the things that the Miami Kashmiri community cherishes and holds close to our hearts. I pray to Lord Shiva to bless this community and everyone else with abundant happiness, health, love, and peace.