LANSING, MI - Sikhs (pronounced “sic”) in colorful saris, shalwar kameez’ and saffron (a deep orange color) turbans will gather at Louis Adado Park on Grand Ave., in downtown Lansing, MI, to celebrate Vaisakhi.
Last year there were hundreds of participants. Vaisakhi is the joyous festival that celebrates the founding of the Sikh community and the first harvesting of the crops for the year in the Punjab region.
The festival is on Saturday, May 6. The event begins at 9:30 am. The parade begins at 12:30 p.m. and the cultural program begins after the parade. Sikhs and visitors come from all over the country to partake in the events. There will be a free authentic Sikh lunch. There will be a variety of dishes to taste.
Everyone is invited.
Lansing Michigan has a growing Sikh community. The Guru Nanak Sikh Centre is located at 4701 Pleasant Grove Road (formerly Mt. Calvary Baptist Church).
Ladi Multani said, “This is our 13th annual parade but we have been having a celebration at the temple since it was established in 2003 and before that we used to gather in people’s homes. We are all a part of this community. It is a great opportunity for people to learn about Sikhs and our culture.”
Sikhism is a monotheistic (a belief that there is only one deity) religion based on a definitive revelation. With over 25 million followers worldwide, it is one of the youngest major world religions. Sikhism was revealed to Guru Nanak over 500 years ago in the Punjab, the Sikh Homeland in South Asia. Sikhism preaches a message of devotion, remembrance of God at all times, truthful living, equality between all human beings, social justice, while emphatically denouncing superstitions and blind rituals.
The Sikhs pray twice a day for the whole of humanity.
According to the Sikh Network, there are many misconceptions regarding the religion:
Misconception 1: The Sikh religion is a blend of Islam and Hinduism or it is a sect of Hinduism.
Truth 1: Sikhism is a unique revealed religion. It is not derived from any other religion. It is not a blend of any two or three religions. Guru Nanak started a new faith.
Misconception 2: Sikhism supports the patriarchal model.
Truth 2: The tenets of Sikhism apply to all Sikhs, regardless of whether one is a Sikh man or a Sikh woman. Sikhism demands the equal treatment and involvement of men and women.
Misconception 3: Sikhs are Indian.
Truth 3: Sikhism is a religion. Indian is a nationality. Those Sikhs born in the United States, Canada, UK or any other place adopt the nationality of that country. Sikhism as a religion spans any such geo-political boundaries.
Misconception 4: Sikhs are Hindu.
Truth 4: Sikhism is a unique faith and is not derived from Hinduism. Sikhism challenges and rejects many precepts of the Hindu religion. It is only due to a shared geographic culture that some ideas or methods may be similar.
Misconception 5: Anyone who wears a turban and sports a beard is Muslim and from the Middle East.
Truth 5: Not all turban-wearers are Sikhs, but all Sikhs must cover their heads at all times (most often done with a turban.) Sikhs are required to keep unshorn hair, but non-Sikhs may have long hair, unshaved legs, or beards out of personal choice.
Misconception 6: Sikhs are terrorists
Truth 6: Sikhs are against terrorism. Sikhs strongly condemn killing innocent people. In fact, Sikhs are commanded to defend the innocent and fight against oppression.
For more information about the Sikh community, log on to wearesikhs.org.
Printed in the April 30, 2017 - May 13, 2017 edition