Being white you may be disappointed at the lack of cultural celebrations we have and want to sneak into someone else’s. At this time of year the Sikh Panjabi Festival of Vaisakhi is celebrated, so here is how you can join in.

In the words Baz Luhrman: wear sunscreen.  At the Nagar Kirtan you will be wearing a patka.  If you don’t wear sunscreen you will end up will a tan line across the middle of your forehead from that patka that will take weeks to get rid of. Trust us this will happen, it happened to us.

Learn the phrases “sat sri akhal” and “Waheguru ji ka Khalsa, Whaeguru ji ki Fateh”. As a white person no one expects you to have perfect pronunciation but put in the effort. Don’t slow the phrasing down you’ll sound like an idiot or even worse a white politician.  While at Vaisakhi notice the behaviour of the politicians. Why do they send the big names in election years and no names other years? How come that Conservative has only talked to the same six men for the last hour? Is the NDP really trying to get votes bases solely on the wearing the colour orange?

Don’t bring up Bollywood or Ghandi. If you’ve seen Ghandi (the movie) that whole mass fighting and death scene was the Panjab being ripped in two. It didn’t end there they spent another 50 years fighting because partition acknowledged Hindu and Mulsim but not Sikh. On the topic of Bollywood we would point you to the traditional artist, known in English as Humble the Poet’s musings on Baagi music. In that particular piece he notes the distinction between the cultures of Bhangra and Bollywood, commenting: Fuck Bollywood we Panjabi.

Enjoy the food. Don’t ask what that red chutney is. It tastes like ketchup because it is. Be sure to get cotton candy early, it goes fast. If you are appreciative and kind you will find most people are friendly, particularly those with the last name Dhaliwal and excluding those with the last name Sidhu.


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