Rolls of material in an explosion of colours are stacked on tables where people make their choice. A variety of styles are tied. For the traditional wider one worn by most Punjabi men, volunteers cut sections about five metres long and three metres wide. Two more volunteers then pull the material taut from diagonal corners, making a huge rectangle, as they carefully fold the two loose sides from opposite corners into the middle. A long, folded, straight length of material is now ready to be carefully tied around a person’s head.
Sikh Awareness Day brings the community’s history, art, and values to the core of Downtown Toronto. Hosted in Canada’s busiest city square, Turban Up engages Canadians from all walks of life and shares an experience that communicates what it means to be a Sikh.
The Chote Sahibzade spent the chilly days of December in the Thanda Burj with our grandmother— Mata Gujri Ji. In response, hundreds of high school students hit the streets every December to provide warmth to the less fortunate.
The thought that came to my mind again and again was “this is the court of the Guru Khalsa”. The Guru Khalsa is no small idea. The Guru Panth is another form of the living Guru, the Sangat of spiritual leaders. Later I would find many things that confirmed this sentiment to me. The leadership that the organizers showed and what they are able to create is something truly amazing. I have prayed to be in such company, these are the ones I’ve been waiting for.
The centre of downtown Toronto was awash in colour today despite the rain and unseasonably cold temperatures.
People of all ages, races and religions walked around Yonge-Dundas Square Sunday sporting a rainbow of brightly coloured turbans — bright pinks, royal purple and blue, citron yellow and mandarin orange.
There are approximately 23 million Sikhs in the world. I learned this from Manbir Singh, a brightly turbaned young man with a well-tended beard, full of love for his faith and sharing it. He was a volunteer for the Sikh Youth Federation that had a presentation at a local university. The group caught my attention when they asked if I would like to have a turban tied on my head. No. But I had been promising myself to write about Sikhism and Judaism because I felt we were kindred spirits. As we talked and shared the beliefs, rituals and symbols of our two religions I realized that we have much in common. We must remember that we have friends from many different faiths. We just need to spend time together.
For Ryerson’s Sikh Students’ Association (SSA), the first week of November reminds them of the year 1984. That was when a massacre of the Sikh population took place in India. Last week, the RSSA held events to honour victims and survivors of the period and to recognize it as a genocide rather than the Indian government’s description of it as a “riot.”