Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Keeping Traditions Alive

Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa
Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh
There are a lot of old traditions that were passed down generation to generation in Punjab, but as the world gets “westernized”, people around the world are leaving the rich traditions and practises behind. Items that used to be handmade in the past are substituted by modern mass production items, which we use once and then throw away. With modernization, we lose part of rich heritage and part of our cultural consciousness.

My father learned how to weave manja from his great-grandfather, who lived to be more than a 100 years old. A manja is a woven bed that was frequently used in India. My great great grandfather, I have heard, was always doing things, utilizing his energy to create something, even in his old age. In a way his legacy lives on, as my father showed my two sisters and I how to weave our first manja.

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In 2008, we decided to weave our third manja. We paid a carpenter to build a wooden frame, and we bought sute (or hand-spun cotton) from India. We then learned how to weave the string in a pattern in a way that the manja was being completed on both sides. The entire process took a couple of weeks, but the proud feeling you get once its finished is priceless.

Once I started sleeping on a manja, I have had the best sleep I have ever had, far superior than a “western bed”. I put a small one inch foam mattress on top, and can tighten the woven part whenever I want. It’s ironic that despite “modern technology” that creates the mattresses that most people sleep on today, technology created hundreds of years ago and tested by generations of people is still far superior in quality. I don’t think I can ever sleep on another type of bed again!

I believe old traditions have their practical applications. Even though we live in a “modern and western society”, applying traditions we have learned throughout the generations is not only practical, but environmentally sustainable. I would probably sleep on a “western” mattress for five to ten years and then throw it away in an ever-expanding landfill, but I can use my manja for at least 40-50 years. In this way our heritage lives on with us, no matter where we are in the world.  


  1. Hiya ive seen your pictures and would it be possible if u can send a video on how to weave a manja plzzz on

    Thnx :)

    1. Hi, unfortunately we don't have a video about how to weave a manja but the next time we weave a manja we will be sure to make a video and post it on the blog.

      PG Sikh Youth