Petaling Jaya, Malaysia | Asia Samachar | 17 May 2015
Vaisakhi is among the most important festivals for Sikhs globally. Celebrated on 14 April, Vaisakhi commemorates the revelation of the Khalsa in 1699, the ideal society founded by Guru Nanak about 230 years earlier.
The Khalsa is to believe in the existence of God, live an honest life directed and guided by the teachings of the ten Gurus embodied in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji as the divine guidance, share a portion of their earnings to uplift the needy and be always prepared to ensure that everyone is free to live a spiritual life free of encumbrances and discrimination of any kind.
To facilitate this, the Khalsa members are given a code of conduct and a distinct identity, which includes a uniform of 5Ks and a common name of Singh for men and Kaur for women.
Typically, Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi with prayers in Gurdwaras, parades, initiation ceremonies for Sikhs to join the Khalsa, charitable deeds and free community kitchens for all.
As the Sikh faith originated from Punjab, most Sikhs around the world are of Punjabi ethnicity. For Punjabi Sikhs, Vaisakhi has another significance, albeit a more cultural one. Punjabis had been celebrating the first of Vaisakh as a harvest festival long before the advent of the Sikh faith in the region. This day is observed as the thanksgiving day by the farmers in Punjab whereby they pay their tribute, thanking God for the abundant harvest and also praying for the future prosperity. Fairs are held and Punjabis around the world celebrate with music and dance. Folk dances like Bhangra and Giddha are staple dances at such cultural fests. .
To-date, the Sikhs’ origin, let alone the Vaisakhi remains unknown to many, citing the need for greater awareness. In view of this, adopting the Malaysian concept of Open House, the Coalition of Malaysian Sikh Organisations (CMSO), together with Gurduaras and Sikh NGOs in the Klang Valley, collaborated with the Selangor State Government to organise a Vaisakhi Open House 2015 at the Padang Timur in Petaling Jaya recently [See: Vaisakhi back on Selangor state agenda, Asia Samachar, 26 Apr 2014].
This certainly marked an invaluable recognition of the Sikhs by the State Givernment of Selangor.
The event was graced by the presence of, among others: YB Sardar Gobind Singh Deo, MP for Puchong; YB Tuan Ganabatirau, Selangor State Exco Member’ and YB Rajiv Rishyakaran, the State Assemblyman for Bukit Gasing.
Speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Coalition of Malaysian Sikh Organisations, Mr Bagh Singh Sandhu, in his capacity as the Organising Chairman of the Vaisakhi Open House 2015, expressed Selangor Sikhs’ gratitude for having the ability to celebrate Vaisakhi with the other Malaysians at large, as means to strengthen solidarity by breaking barriers on the back of cultural richness.
He also thanked the State government for reviving the State Vaisakhi Open House after a break of 4 years and hoped this will henceforth be an annual affair. He also touched on the need for State funding for the community’s needs.
YB Ganabatirau, representing Dato Menteri Besar Selangor, announced that Vaisakhi will be included in the State calendar henceforth and will be celebrated by the state together with the community.
Key highlights of the event included colourful dances by students and teachers of the Punjabi Education Centre in Petaling Jaya, serving of scrumptious Punjabi delicacies, folklore performances such as the Gidda as well as Bhangra, accompanied by the Dhol (traditional drum) and songs in Punjabi, Hindi, Malay, Chinese, Tamil and English, making this a truly Malaysian event.
Overall, approximately 2,000 people, comprising Sikhs and other nationalities attended the event despite the heavy downpour at the start of the event.
SEE ALSO: Fact Sheet on Vaisakhi – CMSO
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