By Aminder Bains
Hardly a week has passed since the beginning of the New Year and all the celebrating and well-wishing and Indo-Canadians across the Lower Mainland are already preparing for more celebrations and even more well-wishing as Lohri, a celebration of life commences this weekend.
The celebration involves neighbours and family exchanging gifts and wishing one another a good and successful year, however, the celebrations are often much more special for families that are welcoming in a child for his or her first Lohri.
Trinjan: The Punjabi Folk will present “Kuri Mundey di Lohri 2013” on Sunday, January 14th at the Dhaliwal Banquet Hall in Surrey. The folks at Trinjan are stressing the importance of the event due to the event’s rhetoric about the equal importance of welcoming in a daughter to a family, something which is not to be taken as well in many Indo-Canadian families and leads to dismissal of any kind of celebration in the dead of winter.
There are many that attribute the gender inequality issues Indo-Canadians face to male entitlement which starts at the onset of a boy’s life with the celebration of Lohri just for a birth of a boy.
While there is no hard data or stats to determine how much damage is actually being done to Indo-Canadian women in BC there are some Non-Profit groups saying they must help hundreds of domestic violence victims a year. The best way to curb these actions down the road for Indo-Canadian women may be to start taking action as of the first few weeks that they are born — that by celebrating their birth with the same joviality, charisma and importance as their newly-born male counter-parts.
The tides are turning however: Amy Ghuman Sara, a grassroots organizer of the event saw only a handful number of female new-borns being heralded in the first couple years of the event and the number has gone up ever since, dramatically. Indeed, banquet halls get Lohri bookings for the birth of girls, which was unheard of a few years back.