The Sikh community of California came together to celebrate Baisakhi, April 9 at the Los Angeles Convention Center, with over 15,000 people attending the grand festivities.
In Sikh tradition, it’s a time of renewal and rekindling of spirit. The celebration commemorates the day in Punjab in 1699 when the unique form and discipline associated with the Sikh way of life was codified by its leader, Guru Gobind Singh. It also syncs with the festival of spring gathering, birth of Khalsa and the Sikh New Year.
The event, which was open to the public, began before sunrise at 4 a.m. at Guru Ram Das Ashram with Asa di Var (devotional morning music, chants, prayers) leading to 7 a.m. as the sunrise morning unfolds with a motorcade procession which ushered the Sri Guru Granth Sahib to the Los Angeles Convention Center. Gatka martial arts performers danced with their swords while the sounds of tablas and conches echoed throughout the halls of the Concention Center as the Sri Guru Granth Sahib was carried overhead and set in the elegantly decorated Gurdwara Hall that anchored the celebration festivities.
Gatka martial arts performers danced and flashed their swords while the sounds of conches and drums echoed through the halls of the convention center as the Sri Guru Granth Sahib was carried overhead and set in the beautifully decorated serene Gurdwara Hall that anchored the festivities.
Kirtan (spiritual music) program continued till the afternoon featuring performances from some of the most inspiring Ragi Kirtan Jathas (musical groups) from around the world. Ragi Jathas and children’s Jathas from Southern California Sikh gurdwaras were also represented, and lectures and speeches were heard from renowned guests.
The busy Baisakhi Bazaar had goods for sale. Clothing was the most popular item, decorative clothing boutiques. Other booths featured decorative items, healing modalities such as Sat Nam Rasayan, essential oils, ramalas, and paintings for the home, devotional items, jewelry, books, CDs, as well as insurance and dental service products.
The langar hall served a hot vegetarian meal. With several serving lines, the large crowd moved efficiently and last minute food preparations outside made it look easy to keep up with the huge demand.
The celebration concluded with a colorful Nagar Kirtan mile and a quarter parade through the heart of downtown Los Angeles from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Floats created by local gurdwaras highlighted Sikh themes, values, lifestyles.
Thousands of visitors have been attending the festival for decades as part of an annual Los Angeles tradition shared with friends and family.
We were happy to be a part of it. love, #krishna