On Sunday, April 3, 2022, Rajasthan Association of North America, Canada popularly known as RANA Canada celebrated the Gangaur Festival at Rashi and Naval Bajaj’s residence in Brampton. This year the Gangaur Puja was dedicated to the “Breast Cancer Awareness” education in memory of their two beloved friends, who lost their lives at a very young age to Cancer. On this occasion, funds were raised for Breast Cancer Research, whereby the entire collection will be donated to UHN and William Osler Foundation through Amity Foundation – A charitable Organization. During the event also the guests were continuous reminded By Mrs. Bajaj to donate for this noble. Mrs. Apoorva Srivastava, Consulate General of India, Toronto was the chief guest, Hon. Prabmeet Singh Sarkaria: President of Treasure Board, Ontario and Mr. Ron Chatha: Chair, Peel Police Board also graced the occasion. More than 250 people attended this event. All the ladies were dressed up in Indian attires such as lehenga-cholis or sarees and men were dressed in kurta pajamas or Rajasthani outfits.
Gangaur festival is one of the most significant festivals of people of Rajasthan and is observed on the third day of the Hindu calendar’s Chaitra month. The term “Gangaur” consists of two words: Gan and Gauri. Gan refers to Lord Shiv ji, and Gauri refers to Goddess Parvati ji. This festival is celebrated by married women with great zeal and devotion by praying to Goddess Parvati ji to bless them and their family, and to keep the marital harmony. In addition, unmarried girls partake in hopes of being blessed with a good husband. The festival commences on the first day of Chaitra, the day following Holi and continues for 16 days. For a newly wedded girl, it is binding to observe the full course of 18 days of the festival that succeeds her marriage. Even unmarried girls fast for the full period of the 18 days and eat only one meal a day. Festivity consummates on 3rd day of Shukla Paksha of Chaitra Month. Fairs (Gangaur Melas) are held throughout the 18-day period. Numerous folklores are associated with Gangaur which makes this festival deeply ingrained into the hearts of Rajasthan, and parts of Madhya Pradesh, Haryana, West Bengal & Gujarat.
Rashi and Naval Bajaj had opened their house for people not only from Rajasthan, but also from other Indian states as well. The ambiance was enchanting with colourful Indian clothes and traditional Rajasthani decorations using items such as handmade puppets, decorative umbrellas, floral festoon borders or Bandanwaar, and many other artifacts. All the required pooja items were provided to all the women and girls by the Bajaj family.
First, RANA Canada’s president, Mr. Kris Surana introduced the guest of honour, Mrs. Apoorva Srivastava. Ms. Srivastava was very happy to be a part of the celebration and said that she was very pleased to see how Indians are trying to preserve their heritage and culture away from India. She congratulated RANA Canada and the Bajaj family to organize such a big event. Despite her busy schedule Ms. Srivastava participated in the pooja alongside Rashi Bajaj.
Hon. Prabmeet Sarkaria addressing the celebration congratulated RANA CANADA for the work they do. Also appreciated Rashi Bajaj and her Family for continuous work they do in the society and especially dedicating this celebration to Breast Cancer Awareness and raising funds for Cancer Research for UHN and William Osler Foundation.
Then Mrs. Bajaj gave a brief regarding Gangaur festival, and also mentioned about the role overall Indo-Canadian diaspora has been playing in keeping the cultural values from our origin mother land and working hard to build strong foundation in our Karma Bhoomi Canada. We all are blessed that we live in most beautiful county in World and blessed to celebrate different festivities throughout the year from around the globe as Canada is a country with full of diversities. Rashi thanked entire RANA Board Members Sandeep Jain, Savita Rathore, Mamta Shah, Nilu Daga, Kishan Paswan, Sudip Bhura, Ruchi Khandelwal, Auyshi Purohit, Rashmi Varsini, Ridhi Agrawal, Soumya Purohit for their continued hard work and commitment to make RANA events successful.
She then introduced a few members of the Cancer Warriors Canada Foundation, who are cancer survivors themselves, and invited them to share a few words about their organization and their journey. Ms. Sita, Ms. Anu, and Ms. Jash talked about their journey and battle with cancer. Also, Rashi Bajaj urged everyone to donate generously for the noble cause of Research for Breast Cancer, all the funds collected will be 100% donated to UHN and William Osler Foundation. After an emotional yet informative session on breast cancer, the Gangaur pooja began followed by mouthwatering, homemade Rajasthani food including very popular Dal-Bati-Choorma and Gatte ki subzi and dessert items like Paan ki kulfi and Moong-dal Halwa.
Overall, it was a well-organized event, and all the attendees were very pleased to attend such a big event even since the COVID restrictions were lifted. The pleasant weather was like a cherry on top that made the celebration more enjoyable and pleasurable!