Seminar on “What’s Vaisakhi?” held at Skokie Public Library

Skokie Public Library, along with the Sikh community leaders, held a seminar on What is Vaisakhi, April 27, 2024. Seen speaking is Rajinder Mago. PHOTO: Courtesy Skokie Public Library

Skokie Public Library Community Engagement section in collaboration with the local Sikh community members held a seminar on April 27, 2024 at the library about the Punjabi festival of Vaisakhi and its significance to the Sikhs, a distinct religious community originating from the Northwestern region of India.

Sarwan Singh addressing the gathering at Skokie Public Library, Skokie, Illinois, on What is Vaisakhi? April 27, 2024. PHOTO; Skokie Public Library

The event also coincided with celebration of the month of April designated as the Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month in Illinois. Many local communities’ residents curious to learn about Vaisakhi and their Sikh community neighbors attended the event per invitation notifications published by the library, a press release from organizers said.

Mantej Singh and Kaviraj Singh started the program with singing of a Shabad, hymn, April 27, 2024, at the Skokie Public Library, on an event to educate public about Vaisakhi. PHOTO: Skokie Public Library

Mantej Singh and Kaviraj Singh sang a Shabad (hymns from the Sikh scripture Guru Granth Sahib), to start the program.

Dr. Sanjay Mehrotra of Northwestern University gave an overview of various spring festivals in different regions of India. Shiva Singh added information about similar spring festivals in European countries.

Rajinder Singh Mago explained the cultural aspect of Vaisakhi, as a harvest festival in Punjab, the first day of the lunar calendar month of Vaisakh in India, which falls on 14th. of April, when farmers celebrate after harvesting their crops and rejuvenate for the next season.

Attendees at the April 27, 2024, event at Skokie Public Library, to understand the meaning of Vaisakhi. PHOTO: Skokie Public Library

Harinder Pal Singh made a detailed presentation about the significance of Vaisakhi to Sikhs.

On this day in 1469 the founder of Sikh faith Guru Nanak was born in Nankana Sahib (currently in Pakistan) and in 1699 the tenth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, formed the order of Khalsa in AnandPur, a city in Punjab. This event transformed his followers to become egalitarian warrior saints with a distinct dress code and way of life. Sikhi is the 5th. largest religious community in the world with about 27 million followers worldwide mostly in the state of Punjab in India, the press release noted, adding that there are about half million Sikhs in the USA.

Sanjay Mehrotra speaking at the Skokie Public Library, April 27, 2024, about VaisakhI. PHOTO: Skokie Public Library

Sarwan Singh Bolina set up a display of Sikh soldiers who fought in the two World Wars, with posters in the meeting room. He also spoke about the contributions and sacrifices of Sikh soldiers to bring about peace in the world.

The formal designation of Sikh Awareness and Appreciation Month of April in Illinois was officially implemented on January 1, 2020. Several events are held during this period and many cities issue proclamations in cities,  villages and counties of Illinois, the billboards on the major highway in Chicago, and lectures in schools and universities.



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