Orangeville’s Sikh community has flag-raising at town hall

April 27, 2018   ·   0 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

The Orangeville Sikh community invited the Citizen to join them Monday at their celebration of raising the Sikh flag at the Town Hall and  of Guru Govind (or Gobind) Singh Jayanti, the birthday festival of their spiritual leader, the Tenth Guru Gobind Singh Ji. 

It was a glorious sun-filled day when we met with the community leaders and  Councillor Nick Garisto, on behalf of the mayor, at the front of the Town Hall, at the flag pole.

The ladies were dressed, as they do, in beautiful saris, dresses and scarves, gold trim and elaborate embroidery on some; the men wore brightly coloured turbans, their beards long and groomed, full of the pride of their culture and acknowledgement of the occasion.

There were speeches and blessings and the Sikh flag was raised. The leader made the calls and the company responded in ceremonial chants. It was a fine moment, a fine tribute to Orangeville and its policy of including all cultures as a part of the fabric of this great small town. Orangeville is the fifth town in Ontario to raise the Sikh flag, which list includes Toronto.

The Tenth Guru Gobind Singh Ji is thought to have been born in December, 1666, the only son of the Ninth Guru. In another place, with thousands more people, there would be a procession, great feasting, food vendors along the streets, demonstration of the culture and martial arts of the Sikhs. Musicians and dancers would have entertained us and the celebration might have lasted many hours. Perhaps that will come to Orangeville and it be a great day when it does.

For this moment, we all walked together, to the Legion hall on John Street, where a delicious buffet had been provided by a restaurant owned by one of the members. A vegetarian meal, it covered so many flavours and colours – just delightful.  A table of ladies called us to join them so that we could get a better understanding of the occasion.

Guru Gobind Singh Ji was nine years old when he took on the mantel of being the Tenth Guru and his father, passing the power of it to him, told his son that he would be the last Guru and would teach the people the ways of Sikh religion and the power of belief.

Guru Gobind Singh Ji lived to marry and have four sons. However, they were all killed, with his parents, when they were demanded to give up their beliefs and abandon their religion.

Monotheistic, the Sikhs have saints and revered leaders. One such, Guru Nanak, experienced a “union with the Divine” from which he came to say there is only one God for all people and that, regardless of the name, all religions worship the one God, creator of the universe.

Sikhs strive to connect to their inner Divinity.

They insist to live with honesty and to share what they earn with others.

They see the actions of daily life as opportunities to learn.

In all this, they maintain there is no reason  for a person to leave his own religion in order to adopt some of the Sikh ways of thinking.

It is the powerful feeling of the connection to Divinity that moves a person and brings a intense glow to their being and in their eyes, as though they finally “get it.” Every religion seeks for this, regardless of the path they take. 

As to the honesty, sharing and love of learning, that could be a cornerstone of any life.

It must be wonderful to see the Guru Gobind Singh Jayanti celebration in its fullness. Perhaps, one day, the streets of Orangeville will be full of the festival and we will all join in the exchange of joy.

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