I’ve been enjoying surveying all the different Vaisakhi celebrations across the United States among various Sikh communities. It’s become apparent that many Sikh communities are using these celebrations as outreach efforts to educate non-Sikhs about the religion and the Sikh identity.
Princeton, New Jersey: On his website, one Savraj Singh posted a couple of pictures of Sikhs celebrating Vaisakhi at Rockefeller College in New Jersey. The setting for their service appears to be an old college building and gives the sense of a very tranquil and intimate celebration.
Lawrence, New Jersey: The Vaisakhi function at a Gurdwara in this town was covered in their local news, and included a brief introduction to Vaisakhi and Sikhism. It is clear from the article that Sikhs are quite an unknown quantity in that community, and it was the goal of the writer to introduce the basic concepts of Sikhism and Vaisakhi. Additional photos from the function accompany the article.
With their beards and turbans, Sikh men are typically confused with Muslims and endure the prejudice that some Americans have against that religion. Sat Jivan Singh asked his listeners to avoid responding harshly to it and instead to set a good example for everyone, since their behavior, good or bad, would strongly influence the attitudes of others regarding Sikhism.
Additional photos and a video are also available with the online article.
Finally, some reports of the Vaisakhi celebrations that I’ve referred to previously are now available. You can view articles and pictures from the Nagar Kirtans in California this past weekend: Selma, Stockton (KCRA and Stockton Record) and Los Angeles.