Monday, April 11, 2011

San Jose Sikh Gurdwara celebrates with Interfaith inclusion


Hundreds (or maybe thousands) of people showed up Sunday, April 11th, to celebrate the Grand Opening of the second phase of building at the San Jose Gurdwara Sahib. Members of the Board of the Silicon Valley Interreligious Council (SiVIC) were on hand for the dedication to offering their support and blessings.

The series of programs began very early in the morning and really special events are planned by the Sikh community for the next several weeks. There will be special prayers, displays and musical events. Sunday at 10am there was a parade with a float in which they carried the Guru Granth Sahib (Sikh Holy Scripture) around the bounds of the Temple. Young people showed off their skill at Gatka (martial arts) for an admiring crowd. I spoke to one teacher who said that their Sunday school has 600 students who come to learn Punjabi and Sikhism each week.


After the parade and the offering of Langar in the South Hall and outside everyone tried to gather in the Main Hall. As large as it is, there were many, many people who could not be in the standing room only space. Much ceremony (all in Punjabi) went on for quite some time. 

Despite the crowd of people the ceremony required sitting and getting up again repeatedly from the floor. Alas, I was not able to stay for the blessings offered by the SiVIC board.  My back was killing me from the getting up and down and I was just exhausted (I am recovering from pneumonia). I suppose I should have come at 11:30 when the visiting dignitaries were to speak, but I would have missed the parade and the Gatka and I am kind of glad that I made the choice I did. I ran into Sam as I was leaving and so was, at least, able to say I had been there. (I never did find Sukhdev, our contact.)

This is a truly beautiful temple with a large and supportive community. It was a pleasure to share their day of celebration.

reported by Rowan Fairgrove

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