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First Anniversary of Anderson Oregon Sikh Centre Celebrated

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    ANDERSON -- The Sikh community will celebrate the first anniversary of the Sikh Centre in Anderson and the Sikh New Year with a Vaisakhi Festival on Saturday.

    The public is invited to the center at 5400 Sikh Centre Drive from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. to experience several aspects of Sikh culture firsthand.

    "People will enjoy learning about the traditional Sikh clothing and food. We can help them with putting on a turban and to understand why they do it," Amarjit Singh said. "We want to increase awareness of Sikh culture and work as a bridge between other communities in Shasta County."

    Representatives from various community groups attend a Tuesday planning meeting for Saturday’s Vaisakhi Festival at the Sikh Centre in Anderson. The festival commemorates the first anniversary of the center and the Sikh New Year. Photo by Nathan Morgan / Record Searchlight

    Singh said children from around the state will give a special presentation of Sikh martial arts.

    "It's a different form of self-defense and it is the first time it has been presented here," he said.

    In addition to Punjabi clothing, like the Kurta pyjamas, and Punjabi suits and saris, Punjabi music and Indian classical music will be played on traditional instruments. Photographs will be displayed that reflect traditional village life in Punjab and its history.

    Female members of the Sikh community will be in the kitchen for demonstrations of traditional food and vegetable preparation. Visitors can learn to make chapatis, which are a whole-grain version of flat bread.

    Eddie McAllister of the Shasta Coalition of African/Black Americans for Community Health and Empowerment, a friend of Singh’s, was enlisted to reach out to a larger segment of Shasta County’s populace. Another aspect of the festival is its focus on diversity and building community.

    “There is a tree at the center where people are encouraged to put up things that represent their culture,” McAllister said.

    Harpreet Birk, left, and Kulbinder K. Dulai prepare Indian food at a Tuesday planning meeting for Saturday’s festival. The aim of the free, multicultural event is to build bridges between the Sikh community and the community at large. Photo by Nathan Morgan / Record Searchlight

    Those at the Sikh Centre want to open to a wider community regardless of caste, creed, color, race, sex, national origin or religion, Singh said. They are partnering with The Spiritual Enrichment Center in Redding to spread a message of nonviolence, he said.

    Other co-organizers of the festival are Harvinder S. Birk, Lee Macey, and the Revs. Andrea Asebedo and Lynn E. Fritz of the Spiritual Enrichment Center.

    -By Constance Dillon (Contact)
    Reporter Constance Dillon can be reached at 225-8372 or at [email protected].
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