A bunch of women friends and kids from Auckland’s Maharashtrian community made the most of the warm, sunny weather last Sunday at their outing on the Mission Bay beach.

It was more than just an outing in that the ladies also celebrated the traditional Haldi Kumkum ceremony traditionally held between Uttarayan and the day before Vasantpanchami (which augurs the coming of spring).

A tradition that is particularly popular in the western Indian states of Maharashtra, Goa, Rajasthan and Gujarat (where it is also the tradition to fly kites), it is essentially a social event.

Married women get together and apply haldi (turmeric) and kumkum (vermillion) on one another’s foreheads, exchange gifts and socialise over a light repast that includes ‘Tilgul’, the traditional sweet preparation for Sankranti.

The significance of the ceremony is to wish one another a long and happy wedded life and for the wellbeing of their spouses and families.

“Haldi Kumkum at Mission Bay turned out to be a good blend of celebrating our tradition as well as a fun outing for the kids on a balmy Auckland Sunday,” Shweta Divekar, one of the organisers of the event, told The Indian Weekender.

“The ladies arrived at the planned meeting point –the fountain – with gifts, flowers, Tilgul, snacks and lots of enthusiasm.”

The ladies are part of a group that was initially formed through kids and parents performing Marathi dances at various venues in Auckland.

The group gathers every so often to celebrate traditions likeSankrantiHaldikunku, ChaitriHaldikunku, GudiPadwa, Gauri-Ganpati and so on, in a bid to keep our traditions alive and relevant to the next generation.

“It’s a good way to follow our culture – and if the venue is a nice picnic spot, that makes it better to entertain children and partners,” Mrs Divekar said.

Picture captions
ShwetaDivekar with a bowl of sweets

Applying Haldi-Kumkum on the beach

The group of ladies on Mission Bay beach