Dublin, 22 Mar 2007 - Irish Sikh Community displayed their rich cultural heritage this weekend by participating at the St Patrick’s Day Parade in Dublin, one of the most celebrated events in Ireland.
The Sikh pageant was organised by Irish Sikh Council. With the theme of the parade being ‘Legendaries’, the Sikh community pageant was titled “Portraits of Courage” displaying the sheer valour and the vibrant cultural beauty that marked the golden era of Sikh rule in Punjab.
The two hour parade route was flocked by millions of spectators. Parade was kick-started at Parnell Square on a very positive note and the response received was outstanding. The outfits of both the gatka players and dancers were a fresh addition to the diverse assortment of costumes at the event and did not fail to engage the interest of onlookers. Parade was also watched by Honourable President Mrs Mary McAleese and Prime Minister Mr Bertie Ahern.
All the participants gave brilliant performance and despite the fact that both the Gatka demonstration and the dances were a bit more physically demanding than merely strutting along in the parade, as they required continuous expert body movement and synchronisation, all the participants had trained hard enough and were prepared to deliver their best. The performance also included a 9 feet Sikh warrior puppet and a float carrying the Nagara (Drum) that was specially brought over from UK for the event.
Fortunately enough, the rain too kept off for the two hours, while the cooling light drizzle was rather welcome. The parade drew over half million spectators and was broadcast live in Ireland and Germany. Over 70 TV channels from around the globe including Channel Punjab covered the event.
For a community just establishing itself, the pressure was immense to live up to the expectations of the parade, which is famous for its elaborate floats and colourful performances. Irish Sikh Council collaborated with Baba Deep Singh Gatka Akhara (Ireland), Baba Ajit Singh Gatka Akhara (UK), Soul of Punjab (Ireland) and Asli Baharan Punjab Diyan (UK) to present well choreographed performance.
A lot of ground work went into preparing the performance. As per Harpreet Singh, President of Irish Sikh Council,
“Preparations started from the Day 1 when we submitted application for participation at the parade in September last year. From drafting the theme on paper to presenting the performance at the parade, every member of Sikh community put lot of efforts in making this event a big success. Young children aged 5 and above enthusiastically practiced Gatka, every weekend regularly for nearly 6 months. After- school sessions were demanding on them, yet their enthusiasm and excitement was enough to ward off any lethargy.”
The skills of Irish Gatka team were brushed up by Surinder Singh and Gurmeet Singh Gill of Baba Deep Singh Gatka Akhara. The Bhangra team lead by Jagroop Singh from Soul of Punjab having already given over 60 stage performances were in equally high spirits as their Gatka counterparts in rehearsing for the parade.
Generating finances for the parade participation was another challenge for Irish Sikh Council. “We were provided 50% of funds by the St Patrick’s Festival Office. Raising another 50% was a big challenge. But we were surprised to see the immense support of the Sikh community. The remaining funds were raised with in days” said Hardip Singh, treasurer for Irish Sikh Council.
“It was not work of a single person. Voluntary service by number of community members and support of the St Patrick Festival Office went a big way in helping organise the pageant. Designing of floats, arranging PA systems, booking training halls, choreography and a lot of other efforts went into preparing for the day”, Satwinder Singh, PR Officer, Irish Sikh Council.
“Sikhs are a law abiding, hardworking and vibrant community and have always given more then their capacity to the countries they live in. Irish Sikhs feel proud to have been part of the national festival of Ireland and thank everyone who helped achieve this.”
For more information please contact:
President, Irish Sikh Council
Phone: +353 (87) 260 5410
PR officer, Irish Sikh Council
Phone: +353 (85) 729 4425
Irish Sikh Council
Office: 2 Tullyhall Court, Lucan, Co. Dublin, Ireland
Postal Address: PO Box 9828, Dublin 2, Ireland