Festivals - Vaisakhi 2005 In New England | Sikh Philosophy Network
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Festivals Vaisakhi 2005 In New England


Jul 1, 2004
Boston, MA
Vaisakhi 2005 in New England


The Sikh Times, Boston, Jun. 29, 2005

Photo: The Vaisakhi nagar kirtan motorcade, winding its way from Milford to Millis

As any casual observer will note, no Sikh celebration equals the vigor with which Vaisakhi, marking Guru Gobind Singh's 1699 inauguration of Sikhism's militant Khalsa order, is observed.

Vaisakhi celebrations typically involve nagar kirtans (religious street processions), organized jointly by the gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship) in the area. However, this year's celebration in New England was an unusual partnership.


In 1971, Harbhajan Singh Puri, popularly known as Yogi Bhajan, founded the Sikh Dharma of the Western Hemisphere, headquartered in the United States. The majority of Sikh Dharma's membership consists of Caucasians, mostly Americans, who wear all white apparel, including turbans for both women and men, and lead a rigorous life of Kundalini Yoga and meditation. The group is also known by the title of its educational branch, 3.H.O. (Healthy, Happy, Holy Organization).

In the words of the eminent scholar Hew McLeod, 'Punjabi Sikhs who come in contact with Sikh Dharma are frequently perplexed by it, not knowing whether to embrace its followers as unusually devout or to avoid them as perversely unorthodox.' McLeod adds, 'The answer is evidently to let them live their life of obedience and Punjabis will live another, seldom the twain meeting in any meaningful way' ("Sikhism," Penguin, 1997, p. 203).

One significant meeting of the twain occurred during an unprecedented nagar kirtan organized by New England Sikhs on April 10, 2005. The day's ceremonies and parade commenced at the Punjabi Sikh gurdwara (New England Sikh Study Circle, Milford, MA) and concluded at the Sikh Dharma gurdwara (Guru Ram Das Ashram & Gurdwara, Millis, MA).

Full story (with photos):


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