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Sikh Festival brings Indian Women Together

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The bright-coloured outfits, the beautiful dances, and the laughter – local Indian women came together amid all this for the Sikh festival of Teeyan on August 11, 2019. The event, which organizers say saw an estimated 120 women in attendance was held at the Stonebridge Hotel.

Celebrated during the monsoon season by Sikhs in the Punjab province of India, Teeyan is all about “happiness, prosperity and well-being,” explains Kulwin Arora, one of the lead organizers of the event. She estimates there are 400 Sikhs in Fort McMurray.

Teeyan, which is the Punjabi word for “daughters,” focuses exclusively on women. It was first celebrated locally in 2013. The event saw different generations – grandmothers and moms coming together for the traditional Teeyan dance called Giddha, a popular folk ring dance, as well as the well-known Bhangra dance. Traditional Punjabi décor reminiscent of a village – where the festival usually happens – transformed the venue. Indian snacks, and dinner completed the celebration.

Arora says the main purpose of the event is to give women a break from both domestic and professional routines, dress-up, and dance the day away.

“We want them to meet the community, and keep our Indian traditions going. We brought the festival back last year after a three-year break, and will do our best to keep it going every year,” she notes.


Kiran Malik-Khan is the Communications Manager for the Fort McMurray Public School District, and national award-winning communications professional. She is a freelance journalist, a communications professional, and a poet. She loves sharing stories about unique people, events, and organizations. Kiran is the co-founder and volunteer public relations director for NorthWord magazine, Fort McMurray's first and only literary magazine. She is also the President/Co-founder of World Hijab Day Fort McMurray. A proud Pakistani-Canadian who grew up in New Jersey, she is a fierce advocate of Fort McMurray, multiculturalism, women's rights, and equality for all. Got a story nobody is telling? Send her ideas: DM and follow on Twitter @KiranMK0822.