Festival and Parade Mark Path of Spiritual Living

By Anir Senyah
The New Citizens Press

     LANSING, MI — The third annual Sikh (pronounced “seek”) Day Parade on April 21, represented a proud moment for the community.    The display of the rich cultural heritage of the Sikh’s was a major success.   There were very few spectators because this is a parade that you can actually be a part of. About 2,000 men, women and children marched down Capitol Avenue.
    The young colorful generation of Sikhs from all over the state and Northern part of the country adorned traditional clothing and showcased a flamboyant and riveting Gatka performance. 
     Gatka is the traditional martial art system of the Sikhs. It is based on the basic principle of unification of the mind, body and spirit in a rhythm of life to train a saint-soldier to be able to defend himself or herself.
     The Sikh’s contribute to the multicultural rainbow that make up this country.  There are about 22 million Sikhs, and it is the fifth largest organized religion.  The Sikh religion originated in Punjab, the region of Northern India.  The founder of the religion is Guru Nanak. 
      Ladi Multani, one of the organizers, believes that this is an opportunity for the others to learn about the Sikh community.  There is much misconception about the Sikh religion.  It is not a blend of Islam or Hinduism or is it a sect of Hinduism. 
      Sikhs believe in the equal treatment of men and women and do not adhere to the caste system.  Sikhism is a religion that believes there is only one deity.  It preaches a message of devotion and remembrance of God. One of their primary tenants is to treat all human beings with dignity.    
       All over the world, Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi on April 13.  Vaisakhi was originally celebrated as New Year’s.  It was the beginning of the growing season and was accompanied by song and dance.
       After the parade they shared a complimentary traditional Indian lunch made by Grail of Indian from Flint, which included roti and rice pudding with all of the attendees and also provided additional entertainment.
    Ladi Multani said, “ We love being a part of this community and being able to bring Sikhs from all over the Midwest to this area is great.  We also want to provide an opportunity for the community to learn about who we are too.”
    The sponsoring centre was the Guru Nanak Sikh Centre which is located at 4701 Pleasant Grove Road (the former Mt. Calvary Baptist Church).