Sikh float at 2016 Pasadena Rose Parade

| Los Angeles, US | 3 Jan 2016 | Asia Samachar |
Sikh float in the 2016 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California - PHOTO/ LA TIMES
Sikh float in the 2016 Rose Parade in Pasadena, California – PHOTO/ LA TIMES

Sikhs took part for the second consecutive year in the annual Rose Parade in Pasadena, California. They paraded a float surrounded by bhangra dancers, seen potentially by more than 50 million TV viewers and hundreds of thousands who lined the street.

The community made history when they took to the popular new year parade in California last year with a float showcasing the history of the American-Sikhs.

FIRST TIME. The float in the 2015 Rose Parade when Sikhs took part for the first time.
FIRST TIME. The float in the 2015 Rose Parade when Sikhs took part for the first time.

Los Angeles Times, the local newspaper for the state, had this to say about the 2015 Sikh float:

When Minu Kaur Singh walks down the street with her husband and children, she hears the comments as people pass by.

Her husband is a doctor but what people notice first is the long beard and turban he wears, following the tenets of their Sikh religion.

“It’s not that people do it intentionally,” she said. “It’s fear of the unknown.”

Several Sikh groups are hoping to fight that fear Jan. 1, when their float rolls through the streets of Pasadena as part of the Rose Parade. The float is directed less at the more than the 700,000 people lining the streets on New Year’s Day than the 55 million or so people who will watch it on television in the U.S.

In the days leading up to the parade, the float was in a Pasadena warehouse, where it was being completed by Phoenix Decorating Co., which has built 18 of the 40 floats in the parade. The float cost about $300,000, which was raised from Sikhs around the country.

The float, with 17,000 multicolored roses and 2,500 gerbera daisies, tells the story of the Sikhs’ 125 years in this country. At the top is a replica of the first gurdwara, or temple, constructed in the U.S. It was built in Stockton in 1912 by immigrants from Indian state of Punjab, where most Sikhs are from.

A railroad engine represents the Sikhs who came to this country to work on the railroads. The red tractor and the peaches, grapes, almonds, cantaloupes and green fields highlight the number of Sikhs in agriculture. On the side of the float are photographs of prominent Sikhs, including one of a man dressed as Captain America.

Standing on a platform at the front of the 55-foot-long float will be a Sikh serviceman and three police officers, jobs Sikhs still are fighting for because of their turbans and beards. Sitting on a park bench will be doctors, lawyers and Boy Scouts, showing that a turbaned Sikh can be the person next door. At the front, the float says, “Sikh American Journey” in red, white and blue.

The Sikhs are not the first religious group to have a float in the parade. The Lutheran Laymen’s League, with a float depicting Noah’s Ark , is participating for the 65th time this year. – Sikhs use Rose Parade float in effort to build understanding (Los Angeles Times, 31 Dec 2014)



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