World Record Set at Turban Day

An attendee expressing his joy at the Turban Day celebration of Vaisakhi in Times Square April 7. (Photo by Peter Ferreira via News India Times)

This year’s Turban Day in Times Square, held on April 7, set a new Guinness World Record for “most turbans tied in eight hours.” Sikhs of New York has organized the event every year since 2013 to raise awareness of the world’s fifth largest religion.

Ruchi Vaishnav writes in News India Times:

Intense and pulsing Punjabi beats filled the air in Times Square as many including famous food lover Varli Singh and her family, joined the celebration, dancing and raising their voice in some “balle balle” showing off the newly-tied turbans. So many who came got turbans tied so that Times Square turned into waves of color as if Holi was being played, but this time with long pieces of colorful cloth artfully wrapped on the head.

As some volunteers were asking the public whether anyone wanted to get a turban tied for free, other volunteers were holding up signs with the names and photos of important Indian-American Sikhs to further educate New Yorkers and tourists about Sikhs and their contributions worldwide.

She adds that Turban Day is part of the festivities for the Vaisakhi festival, which marks the Sikh New Year, celebrated on April 14. Given that the holiday is one of the most important in the religion, many events honoring the faith will take place in April.

Even non-Sikhs like New Jersey State Senator Vin Gopal are hosting a “Sikh Day” in the State House in Trenton April 12, where the Indian-American Senator will be joined by other state lawmakers to commemorate the day. “We designated April 14 as Sikh Day to join in celebrating Vaisakhi with Sikhs throughout New Jersey and to honor the lasting contributions of the Sikh community,” said the flyer from Sen. Gopal’s office.

On April 9, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a resolution that designates April as “Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month.” The text address the contributions of Sikhs in the state “such as providing free food to the less fortunate through the annual ‘Let’s Share a Meal’ event in Camden and Jersey City” and also acknowledges the discrimination Sikhs endure “often by individuals who are unaware of the beliefs and practices of the faith.”

The Sikh Cultural Society of Richmond Hall announced it will prepare vegetarian meals in its kitchen for 50,000 people at the annual Sikh Day Parade on April 28 in Manhattan. The organization, which is home to the oldest and largest Sikh congregation in the city, noted that the offering of free food, known as langar, is an integral part of the religion. During the preparation of the food the day before the parade, volunteers will dress in traditional outfits and, according to a statement, “sing a non-stop round of beautiful hymns in the Punjabi language.”

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