AMRITSAR: Taking this as an opportunity, the huge gathering of Sikhs at Yuba City in California (USA) today showcased their culture and political strength during the 33rd annual Sikh Parade. This is one of the largest gathering of the Sikhs outside India and nearly a million from whole North America, Europe and India converge annually at this Californian city to celebrate Gurpurab in the month of November.
It is gala times for the community as they hold prayers in Yuba City which is known worldwide for the enterprising Punjabi farmers. The migrant farmers from Punjab had settled first here and they are rich and prosperous community in this American city. The whole township is decorated and there is festivity during the parade that include a procession led by Golden Palanquin with Guru Granth Sahib placed.
The old and young, the people from far away places gather here and apart from the religious ceremony, the Parade is the meeting point for the Punjabis from all over the world here, especially from Canada and US. A colourful parade was taken out and there was a free `Langar’ (community kitchen) available to all and apart from the devotees gathered at the Gurdwaras the white people and others too had the taste of the Punjabi food served freely including the `Sarson Da Saag’ and `Makki Di Roti’.
Pritpal Singh, the Coordinator of American Gurudwara Prabandhak Committee, managing the show said all started 32 years back when the immigrant Punjabis decided to celeberate the Gurpurab and the tradition now is part of the Sikh Diaspora and whole Punjabis’ life in the US. He said apart from the prayers they get together, discuss the political and social issues confronting the community in US and even back home in India.
"No doubt seeing the huge gathering the US officials and Congress men also arrive and deliver speeches and we welcome them whole heartedly. The issues confronting community members are also taken up’’, said Pritpal Singh. He said this also provide them an opportunity to forge the brotherhood by meeting each other and getting to know each other and families.
US Congressman John Garamendi who was honoured to be a part of the parade and hailed the Sikh culture said he was excited to see the wonderful Sikh culture that marks the service and humility to the mankind. This time the parade had been organized in wake of the killing of the Sikhs at Oak Creek in Wisconsin state in August where a white supremacist gunned down six people. "We prayed for the departed souls. There is no place in Sikhism for the hatred’’, said Pritpal Singh.