Style Living Self Celebrity Geeky News and Views
In the Paper BrandedUp Hello! Create with us Privacy Policy

What do 'Chak de phatte!' and 'Boker tov' mean?

By Bim Santos Published Dec 14, 2021 5:23 pm

“Chak de phatte, India!” were the first words of an emphatic Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Sandhu minutes after being crowned, while moments before, Miss Universe Philippines Beatrice Luigi Gomez greeted the audience with “Boker tov.”

The radiant and newly crowned Harnaaz could be seen in a video clip after the event telling the camera while pumping her fist, “Chak de phatte, India! Chak de phatte.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Miss Universe (@missuniverse)

“Chak de phatte” (ਫੱਟੇ ਚੱਕ) is a Punjabi phrase of encouragement that has a rich historical backstory. It traces its roots to the history of India, when Sikh warriors were battling the Mughals, which were then an imperial power in South Asia until the 17th century. 

Whenever Sikh warriors attacked Mughal camps, they would pick up the wooden planks, or "phatte," that they have laid down to cross over waters as a sign of victory to signify that they are proceeding to the next battle. As the victorious Sikh warriors advanced to their next conquest, they would utter the war cry “chak de phatte,” as “chak” roughly means to pick something up, which in this case are the wooden planks, or the "phatte." The war cry has then been used to pump up the spirit of the warriors and signify that they are set for greater spoils.

From then on, the phrase has become a part of the Punjabi language, which is the 11th most widely spoken language in India, as a form of encouragement. Rough English translations could be “let’s go!” “well done!” or “go for it!”

The 21-year-old Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz was born in Punjab and was the Miss India Punjab 2019.

A 2008 Punjabi comedy film

"Boker tov"

Meanwhile, Miss Universe Philippines Beatrice Luigi Gomez also used a foreign phrase in the question and answer portion of the pageant.

"Boker tov (בוקר טוב), Israel. Shalom,” said Gomez as a preface to her answer, leading the local crowd to raucous cheers.

In this case, “boker tov” is a Hebrew greeting that means “good morning,” with “boker” for morning, and “tov” for good. “Shalom” ( שָׁלוֹם‎ ) is also a popular Hebrew remark that means “peace” or “wholeness.” “Shalom” is also a flexible greeting that could be used when saying “hello” or “goodbye.”