I worked at a multicultural television station for almost two years, and one of the most memorable and culturally stimulating (and grueling) experiences is the Sikh Parade at Yuba City. This year is their 31st year of the parade. Also known as the Nagar Kitan (pronounced neh-giar kid-en), this parade/festival draw tens and thousands of Sikhs and other culturally aroused individuals alike to a weekend of worship, food, and pure cultural extraction undertaking of the senses.
Long story short, I have had the pleasure to attend this event for the past two years… and since I had to work the last two times I was there, this year I plan on going just to enjoy myself, and eat some awesome authentic Indian food.
Did I mention its an all you can eat/drink vegetarian Indian buffet? AWESOME!
According to my friend Harvinder, the reason that every family brings food and serves it out for free to everyone is because in their religion, the gods wanted a day on earth where no one will be hungry… all in the spirit of seva. No matter how rainy or terrible the weather gets, which is very common in Northern California during the fall/winter seasons, that Sunday, the sun will come through for the parade.
Anyways, here’s a photo of me on top one of the trucks next to our film crew from last year’s parade…
BTW, if you plan on going, please bring something to cover your head. You only need to cover your head when the guru is passing you during the parade, and not the rest of the event. Reason for this is out of the respect for the religion.
This year, assuming its the first Sunday of November every year, the Sikh Parade will happen in front of the Sikh Temple Gurdwara, Sunday morning (parade starting around 9, 9:30am), November 7th, 2010. All the worship and stuff should start that Friday before.
My tips from the previous years:
- Use the restroom ahead of time. The porta-potties get pretty beat by the time 10am comes around when there is almost a hundred thousand people using it.
- Have anti-bloating anti-gas over the counter medications handy. You will need it.
- Go for the smaller family tents, their food is better.
- Their fresh squeeze orange juice is mixed with salt. So drink with caution.
- Their hot tea is very VERY sweet.
- Always keep a look out for the family that gives away king size Snicker bars and Starbucks Frappuccino jars.
- Not all pakoras are created equal.
- Stay away from the deep fried orange curly looking things.
- Have fun and bring lots of wet-napkins!