My wife and I were invited out to the Gurdwara Shri Guru Ravi Dass Temple on 16th to enjoy the annual parade which begins at the temple on 16th, and circles southwest and back north to Elkhorn Blvd and 16th street again.
The Nagar Kirtan is a Sikh custom involving the processional singing of holy hymns throughout a community. The word “Nagar” means “town or neighborhood,” and “Kirtan” is a term describing the singing of “Shabads” or divine hymns. The concept of a Nagar Kirtan is to bring the message of God to the doorstep of the community, not unlike Christian or Mormon missionaries going door to door. It is common for Nagar Kirtans to take place wherever Sikhs live and are common during the month of Vaisakhi, taking place all over the world.
The Langar (or free community kitchen) is a hallmark of the Sikh faith. So while the parade is happening, the eats are being served at the temple grounds. Great food! Punjabi food, mostly (or all, I’m not certain) vegetarian, and very, very fresh.
I’ve always known that the Sikh people were very kind, having seen them throw open their doors to the evacuation victims from the Oroville dam incident, or opening their doors to the Camp Fire evacuees, but I had yet to experience it myself. What an amazing group of people. They were shoving food into my hands. Fresh roasted corn, fresh-squeezed orange juice, deep-fried chapati, and jalebis!
My wife sais “It’s like being in a different country” and it truly was a full immersion into a wonderfully different culture. We loved every minute of it. We won’t miss it next year, certainly.
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