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Australia Sikhs celebrated Vaisakhi as Harmony Day

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Encouraged by the healthy response of last year's Vaisakhi celebrations as Harmony Day from people of other religions and cultures, Gurdwara Sahib Revesby celebrated the same this year also on 12th April.

Hon Darryl Melham MP Bankstown and Mayor of Bankstown graced the occasion with their presence and enjoyed the celebrations all day.

From the feedback of last year, elaborate arrangements were made to open the Gurdwara Sahib for general public. Generally the gurdwaras all around the world are always open for all sects of life but there is always a bit of hesitation in public from other religions to come forward and get some understanding about Sikhism. And also Sikhism is not very old in Australia, so not known to general public. Therefore this Harmony day combined with Vaisakhi celebrations served the purpose of knowing each other very well.

Many guests from other religions visited the Gurdwara Sahib and were accompanied by trained volunteers to take them around the Gurdwara and brief them on the customs and beliefs of Sikhism.

Many people said they knew about this place by passing by but never thought of coming along like this thinking it may not be acceptable but after knowing that Sikhism welcomes people from all walks of life, they felt so comfortable. Some of the visitors already knew about Sikhism but wanted to know more about practices about the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, daily prayers (by singing the verses from Guru Granth Sahib Ji) etc.

The celebrations went on throughout the day with fantastic display of Gatka (the Martial Art of Sikhs) which was overwhelmingly liked by all. There was jumping castle and face painting for kids. 'Australian Neighbourhood Centre' also joined in celebrations. There was free medical camp for seniors. Free literature/CDs about Sikhism was distributed. An exhibition about History of Sikhs in Australia was also organised.

All of the visitors enjoyed the Langar (free vegetarian meals) that were served all day along with tea/drinks and snacks. Almost all of the visitors provided valuable comments in the visitors book and wished to visit again - soon and this time, informally.

The pick of children were jumping castle and face painting. Everyone enjoyed the 'Langer' (community meals) and was delighted to know its background of promoting equality and harmony as this tradition of serving free meals in every congregation is going on for the last five centuries in Sikh Faith. Every one irrespective of caste, creed, colour, race, status, gender is welcome to partake in the community meals and can visit Gurdwara (Sikh Temple).

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We look forward to your comments and feedback to make it more harmonious and attractive where members from different communities can know each other and enjoy our common values of mutual respect and living in peace and harmony.
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