Yuba City (San Francisco), November 3, : Over 70,000 Sikhs converged from across the United States of America, Canada, England and India to participate in the 29h Annual Sikh Parade taken out on the streets of the Yuba City, about 125 miles from San Francisco Bay Area here on Sunday.
The nearly 5-mile religious parade was taken out to mark the tercentenary celebrations of Guruship of Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of Sikhs.
Punj Pyaras or, the five Sikh clergies led the parade and carried the Sri Nishan Sahib, the religious flag of Sikhism. There were also flags of California State in the parade.
With chants of "Satnam Waheguru" and repeated slogans of "Bole so Nihal", the general mood in the parade was religious.
Many U.S Congressmen and representatives of the Governor's office attended the parade besides the Sikh devotees.
As the procession stared from the Sikh Temple of Yuba City, a helicopter hovering above the ceremonial parade created a rain of flowers from high above the procession.
Thousands of Sikhs walked alongside hundreds of floats.
Along the parade route, Sikhs families who set up food booths offered free drinks, snacks and cooked food for the visitors all the way of the parade.
Sikhs have been a part of the American landscape for over 130 years. And, the Yuba city area has some of the best agricultural land is known for the largest Sikh population of farm owners.
Rajinder Singh Chauhan, one of the organisers of the Sikh temple of Yuba City said, "It demonstrates our political and economic strength along with the unity among the Sikhs. It has to be political, economic as well as social strength."
People feasted on traditional Sikh food and American traditions such as cotton candy and popcorn.
"It was a special joy of distinction, recommended for one and all to explore at least once in a lifetime," said Daljeet Kaur a visitor form Los Angeles.
"Such programs helps us to overcome an identify crisis which Sikhs in the US have been facing since the 9/11 incident. For every Sikh living abroad it's an occasion to express solidarity by joining wholeheartedly, said John Gill, another organizer of the Parade.
Dr. Pritpal Singh, coordinator of the American Gurdwara Parbhandhak Committee (AGPC), on the occasion said that special occasion witnessed a large religious gathering and offered a platform to the Sikhs to discuss their issues.
Dr. Amarjeet singh, an eminent Sikh leader from Washington D.C., said that the grand scale of celebrations all over the world for the Guru Granth Sahib is a befitting reply to the forces who were trying to mislead the community.
"Sikhs hold Guru Granth Sahib, the only living guru of the community, with utmost love, respect and the dedication all over the world. And, it is visible here. In Argentina in the only Gurdwara in South America, there have been celebrations on this occasion in a big way, Sikhs in Fiji and Sikhs living in Punjab (India) and around the world, have held big celebrations and it will continue round the year," said he. Moreover, several non-Sikhs from across California participated in the events on the day of devotion.
The anticipated number of people for the annual parade, however, was marred by poor weather conditions. There were about 70,000 devotees, which was a little less than the anticipated 100,000 people as expected by the organisers. By Ravinder Singh Robin