‘Largest celebration of Sikh culture in US’ ends after year of Covid delay
Southeast Asia’s biggest festival outside of India and the United States returned to Yuba City this weekend. The pandemic forced its cancellation last year.
Yuba City Mayor Marc Boomgaarden said more than 100,000 people attended the three-day Yuba Nagar Kirtan City Festival, which is now in its 42nd year.
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People from all over the world visit to participate in the festival. The festival is all about giving back to the community.
“As with all of our cultures and religions, I think that’s the base, serving others, so that’s what we do here,” said Ramandeep Bhinder, from Modesto.
Bhinder handed out free food and drinks to people walking past, explaining that she wanted to observe her roots and identity as an Asian American. She said sees this weekend as a way to pass the culture down through the generations.
The mayor described the Sikh population in the area as being super generous and an integral part of the community.
Boomgaarden said the president of the Sikh temple expects this year’s event to be the most important yet.
“It’s huge to see something like this coming back to our community,” Boomgaarden said.
The festival ended on Sunday with a parade and streets filled with pop-up tents with families inside cooking and serving free meals to the masses.
“It all revolves around the blessings of the gurus and we all believe in one God. It is just amazing. We are blessed to be here,” said Booby Singh, who was from Reno.
Gyan Singh, who traveled to the festival from Los Angeles, has been coming to this event for decades. He said this year seemed smaller than previous years and mentioned some concern about entering the temple due to COVID-19. But also said he felt safer with the whole event – except the temple – which took place outside.
The end of the Sikh festival parade marked the end of the giving weekend.
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