The Sikh Float At The 2017 Rose ParadeFRANCES KAI-HWA WANG
For the third year, Sikh Americans will ring in the new year in California with a parade float made up of thousands of flowers.
United Sikh Mission, a nonprofit, will take part in the 128th Rose Parade in Pasadena, California, with a float to share Sikh-American history and culture with attendees and viewers at home.
"I grew up watching the Rose Bowl Parade on television and dreamed about how great it would be to participate in this quintessential American experience," United Sikh Mission organizer Bhajneet Singh said. "We continue our participation because it's such a joyous event, and it gives our fellow Americans the chance to learn more about the Sikh faith, community, and traditions."
The 2017 float will depict the Darbar Sahib, popularly known as The Golden Temple -- Sikhdom’s most famous gurdwara, located in Amritsar, Punjab -- and four white peacocks, the state bird of Punjab, where the religion originates.
Previous floats have depicted the Punjabi harvest celebration of Vaisakhi, featuring an image of a Sikh man with a beard and yellow turban riding a white horse accompanied by teams of bhangra dancers. The organization's first float in 2015 depicted the gurdwara in Stockton, California, which was built in 1912 and is one of the earliest Sikh places of worship built in the United States.
The 2015 float was also accompanied by Sikh-American members of the U.S. military.
Organizers hope that building these floats and participating in the parade will help educate the public about Sikhism and Sikh Americans and help dispel harmful stereotypes, especially in today's climate of mistaken identity triggered by anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant sentiment.
"The Rose Bowl Parade has welcomed us with open arms, and we're honored to be a part of the festivities," Bhahneet said. "Through this project, we're starting new conversations, engaging new audiences, and showing many Americans for the first time how beautiful the Sikh experience is. Every year, our children love putting the flowers on the float and parents serve langar to all the Rose Bowl Parade volunteers."
[Courtesy: NBC News. Edited for sikhchic.com]
December 23, 2016
Conversation about this article
1: Pardeep Singh Nagra (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), December 23, 2016, 11:59 AM.
I sincerely hope the first two floats have been preserved, and eventually they in of themselves can make for great floats for our community events, Nagar Kirtans or to participate in other parades.
2: Sangat Singh (Kua;a Lumpur, Malaysia), December 23, 2016, 6:04 PM.
I have been watching the Rose Parade for nearly 40 years and this year it will be special to see Harmandar Sahib in full California splendour.