HMM Houston’s Sankrant Event

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By Suchitra Deo

HOUSTON: Houston Maharashtra Mandal (HMM) and its patrons celebrated the beginning of harvest season “Makar Sankrant” on January 16, at Williams Elementary School in Katy. It was a super hit event with more than 600 attendees!  People of all ages coming together to be a part of the community and culture we have cherished for several years. In Maharashtra, the day marks the official start of harvest season and end of winter. The first harvest of sugarcane (gul) is used to make sweets out of sesame seeds (til). Hence, people eat the sweets and wish each other “Til gul ghya, goad goad bola”!  It means, talk sweet like the candy in your mouth!

Williams Elementary gym and cafeteria looked like a city fair ground with Maharashtrian touch to it. Lots of colorful decorations that included kites, lights, flower decorations and beautiful Rangoli made the place look extremely festive. People were greeted by soothing sounds of shehanai. Then they were ushered to check in desk where computer systems efficiently verified details of the attendee as well update membership. Ladies were welcomed with traditional “Haldi Kunku”, “vaan” Saffron, til gul and Marathi calendar. All attendees were given til laddus (sesame and jaggery sweet).

The event started at 4 PM sharp with the welcome speech by HMM President Megha Ozarker. The main hall looked like a carnival of amazing food, entertainment, games and prizes. Many stalls were of traditional Maharashtrian food while others had delicacies from other parts of India. Many stall owners took the opportunity to showcase beautiful décor items, clothing and jewelry. On stage, the celebration of kids “bor nahan” was performed in which about 30 children participated with great enthusiasm. They were delighted to be showered with candy and other finger food items. Many parents took their child picture in the jewelry provided by HMM. Even new brides couldn’t resist getting their picture taken in the white candy beads jewelry that contrasted beautifully with their sarees.

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On one side of the hall, HMM committee members were conducting fun games for children like sack race, spoon lemon race etc. It was interesting to see parents being as competitive as their child while keeping good sportsman spirit. On stage, several raffles were being announced continuously from our wonderful sponsors.

HMM committee event organization was impeccable. First time in HMM’s history there were 21 stalls with craft items, authentic Maharshtrian Food Items (e.g. gul poli, ukdiche modak).  All patrons were able to enjoy great food like “Jhunka -Bhakar”, Vada pav, Bhel, Sev Batata puri, Modak, Gulpoli and the list goes on., participate in games, bor nahan and raffles without any bottlenecking or confusion. Many of our esteemed members sent high accolades to HMM President Megha Ozarker about the event. HMM 2016 Committee would like to thank all attendees, dedicated HMM Volunteers, Katy ISD Staff, commercial and food stall owners, HMM Sponsors, HMM Raffle Ticket Sponsors on behalf of HMM.  Thanks to Samir Patil and Rajesh Thatte for taking beautiful memorable photographs of the event.  Big thanks to the sponsors (Alings Hakka, Maharaja Bhog, KT Bombay Bazaar, KurryWalah, Chowpaty Chat).

More information about Houston Maharashtra mandal and also the pictures, videos of the event can be found on www.hmmhouston.org

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