A young Sikh boy twirls a Chakkar, a ceremonial ring, during the Khalsa Day Parade in Kent on Saturday. The Chakkar was an ancient Indian weapon adopted by Sikhs as part of their standard battle gear centuries ago. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

A young Sikh boy twirls a Chakkar, a ceremonial ring, during the Khalsa Day Parade in Kent on Saturday. The Chakkar was an ancient Indian weapon adopted by Sikhs as part of their standard battle gear centuries ago. MARK KLAAS, Kent Reporter

Thousands join Sikh celebration in Kent

Khalsa Day shines with prayer, music, demonstrations and a large parade

Area Sikh communities gathered in Kent on Saturday for the 27th annual Khalsa Day Celebration and Parade – a religious and colorful festival filled with music, prayer, food and demonstrations – at the accesso ShoWare Center.

The day culminated with the Nagar Kirtan, a mid-afternoon parade, in which thousands of people proceeded through the streets of Kent, singing hymns from a sacred book of worship known as Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Sikhs’ most ultimate holy scripture.

The event also featured langar, a free community kitchen and food for attendees, interfaith service projects and Sikh martial arts demonstrations.

Every spring millions of Sikhs worldwide celebrate Khalsa or Vaisakhi Day, marking the beginning of the harvest season and the Sikh new year.

“This spring, Sikhs worldwide are commemorating Vaisakhi, one of the most historically significant days of the year,” said Kent City Councilmember Satwinder Kaur. “It’s remarkable for Washingtonians of all ages to come together and recognize a community that has made significant contributions to the state for over a century.”

Sikh community leaders continue to make strides in increasing Sikh awareness with three Washington cities and counties issuing proclamations honoring the contributions of Sikh Americans over the last month. This also includes a statewide resolution that was issued on April 10, making April Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month.

In addition to Sikh officials and community leaders from throughout the state, non-Sikh political leaders participated in the event. Among them: U.S. Congressman Adam Smith, D-WA, 9th District; state Sen. Mona Das, D-Kent; Seattle City Councilmembers Lorena González and Kshama Sawant; Kent City Council President Bill Boyce; and Kent City Councilmembers Kaur, Brenda Fincher and Marli Larimer.

“For over 100 years, Sikh American contributions to Washington state have only made our community stronger,” Smith said. “The annual Khalsa Day Celebration and Parade continues to be a great opportunity to recognize Washington’s Sikh community.”

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