| Singapore | 23 Dec 2016 | Asia Samachar |
Naam Ras, the largest biennial Sikh kirtan festival in Singapore, starts today, attracting participants from neighbouring Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia.
Some 20,000 are expected to attend the festival which will run from 5.30pm to 10pm each day at the Singapore Expo, estimated the Naam Ras Kirtan Darbar oganising team.
Much goes into holding the event. In Malaysia, weeks before the event, flyers and messages via the social media began to making its rounds, informing Sikhs about the up-coming event.
They collaborate with local teams from places like Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya and Ipoh to prepare chartered buses for the event. They also pre-book hotels for the guests from the neighbouring countries at attractive rates.
Daily, the guests are then sent by busses to the event hall from their hotels.
For Singaporeans, Naam Ras is a festival they look forward to, coming in the midst of the Christmas holidays and just days before the year-end holidays.
Many Singaporeans who live abroad, like Ashmit Singh, have taken time off work to travel here to help organise and attend the event.
For the 27-year old Ashmit, who lives in Shanghai and works at a mobile app start-up, the festival will be where members of his extended family – from countries such as Japan, Thailand and India – gather this year.
“Singapore has always been our home base. It is a good chance to come back home, see each other and be part of the community again,” he told the Straits Times (Four-day Sikh festival opens its doors to all, ST, 23 Dec 2016).
A mobile app, containing information like hymn lyrics, has also been developed.
This year’s event will mark the 350th birthday of the 10th Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, who was known as a literary genius.
The pitcher he drank milk from – a sacred relic more than 300 years old – will be on display as well. Another highlight is a miniature paper replica of the Golden Temple, Sri Harimandir Sahib – the spiritual and cultural centre for the Sikh religion – in Amritsar in north-western India, the same report said.
Guramrit Singh, 30, an IT designer, said that apart from learning more about the religion, he enjoys the sense of community that the event provides. “Being here with people I grew up with – that is the most fun part.”
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