Sikhs Celebrate with Parade, Food

November 26, 2006

Author: Sharon McNary and Bettye Wells Miller

Source: The Press-Enterprise

About 2,000 Inland area members of the Sikh religion joined a 2.5-mile procession through the streets around their Riverside temple Sunday to raise community awareness of their culture and beliefs.

Jarnail Singh, right, leads a call for the Guru Garanth Sahib as he and more than 1,000 Sikhs walk in the community celebration.

The colorful, multigenerational event, the first in the Mission Boulevard temple's 20-year history in Riverside, celebrates the anniversary of the birth of Guru Nanak, founder of the Sikh religion.

Temple members hope it will grow into an annual community event, said Bharpur Takhar, temple secretary.

Before the procession, families sat on strips of patterned carpet under a shade tent to eat savory potato pastries called samosas, salty deep-fried and spicy vegetables called pakora, and barafi, a sweet milk cake dessert.

Others left their shoes in a giant rack to enter the carpeted unfurnished temple. Adherents bowed at a hand-carved pedestal that holds the Sikh sacred text. They bowed, gave a cash offering and accepted a priest's blessing by eating a sweet pudding ball made from wheat flour and butter.