26th Annual Sikh Parade in Yuba City Draws Near Record Crowd

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The Yuba City Sikh community hosted the Valley’s largest religious and cultural celebration today. The 26th Annual Sikh Parade in Yuba City is one of the Valley’s largest religious and cultural celebrations. The weekend activities honor the receipt by Sikhs of their Holy Book, the Guru Granth Sahib, in 1708, which they use as their spiritual guide.

Another near record crowd today, estimated at 60,000 people, continues to make the 26th Annual Sikh Parade in Yuba City one of the Valley’s largest religious and cultural celebrations. The weekend activities honor the receipt by Sikhs of their Holy Book, the Guru Granth Sahib, in 1708, which they use as their spiritual guide.

The four and a half mile parade through the streets of Yuba City drew parade participants from throughout the West Coast. The parade featured floats and a procession of thousands of Sikhs walking with the floats. In the Sikh tradition, anyone is free to join in the parade at anytime. As the parade left the Sikh Temple Gurdwara grounds to circle the city, a helicopter dropped rose-petals on the parade spectators from above.

Along the parade route, there were no vendors hawking food. Instead Sikhs provided free drinks, snacks and prepared food for the throng of visitors. The idea behind the concept of free meals to all is one of the core Sikh values called Seva (say-va), or daily selfless service to humanity. This value is one part of the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Holy Book) presented in 1708 by the Sikhs tenth and final Guru (spiritual teacher) as a perpetual spiritual guide.

For Didar Singh Bains, Parade Founder, the event marks 26 years of service to the community. Bains, the world’s largest peach farmer, says, “This event reinforces the values of Seva that our Sikh Guru’s passed down to us.”

As thousands continued to congregate at the Sikh Temple following the parade to enjoy the free food and entertainment, volunteers continued to serve free meals. By the time the weekend comes to an end tonight, more than 200,000 free meals will have been prepared and distributed at no charge.

“The Sikh Temple Yuba City is open 365 days a year for anyone in need of a place to sleep or a meal,” said Dilbag Singh Bains, Chairman, Sikh Parade. Sikhs consider it a privilege and honor to serve people that come to their Temple.

Food consumption this weekend included:

·    30,000 pounds each of rice and onions. 60,000 pounds of wheat flour

·    40,000 pounds each of lentils, potatoes, and cauliflower

·    20,000 gallons of water, soft drinks and tea

Once again, Sikhs came from England, Canada and India along with many cities in the United States. Although many younger Sikhs and their families have left Yuba City, the parade and weekend of devotion makes for a homecoming weekend for many, as the roots to Yuba City remain strong. Sikhs first arrived in America more than 100 years ago to work on the railroads outside Sacramento, and Yuba City became their first home due to its rich agricultural land and likeness to their native land, Punjab.

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Edward Vasquez
EDWARD J. VASQUEZ COMMUNICATIONS
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