News Column

Teeyan da Mela women's festival to take the stage

August 25, 2014

By David Bitton, Appeal-Democrat, Marysville, Calif.

Aug. 25--An afternoon of dancing, singing and live performances returns Sunday to the Yuba-Sutter Fairgrounds for the 16th annual Teeyan da Mela women's festival.

Hundreds of performers from California and as far away as Texas will take the stage dressed in bright and colorful attire and perform to a crowd organizer Parminder Takhar hopes tops 3,500 people.

The outdoor free event, which is open to all women and children, runs from 11 a.m.-7 p.m.

One of the youth performers, Keerat Takhar, 13, is a veteran of the event, having performed since she was 2 years old.

She loves how she gets three new outfits and matching jewelry for her three performances.

She said she enjoys sharing her culture and spending the day outside with friends and can't wait for Sunday.

Two groups will be performing in the luddi dance style, which features participants moving in circles, clapping their hands, jumping and stomping their feet.

Asha Sharma, a popular Punjabi woman, is back again this year as master of ceremonies.

There will be a bounce house for children, one food vendor and many other vendors selling items, including henna tattoos and jewelry.

Parminder, the founder and director of the International Organization of Punjabi Women Inc., which puts on the event, said she is grateful to the more than 200 sponsors that make this a free event to attend.

She started the event after realizing her mother-in-law, and many other women, never went anywhere fun for themselves.

"This (event) is to promote sisterhood," Parminder said.

During the inaugural event, Parminder said she could see the spectators eyes start to sparkle as they started relaxing.

"It is heavily to see that happen," she said.

Women quickly begin smiling, laughing and joking around, Parminder said.

"You can let yourself go and enjoy and not be judged," said, Paramjit Hansra, a member of the organization.

Organization helps community

While it is mainly focused on providing services to women and children, the International Organization of Punjabi Women Inc. helps the community in a variety of ways.

If someone has a financial, drug or abuse problem, Parminder Takhar, the founder and director of the International Organization of Punjabi Women Inc., assists him or her.

Takhar lets people know what services are available to help no matter what the circumstance.

The organization has also been feeding the homeless once a month for the past 11/2 years.

Takhar also teaches youth Punjabi.

"I teach that to kids just because I love my culture," Takhar said.

CONTACT David Bitton at 749-4796.


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Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)

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