Turban Day: More than a thousand New Yorkers wear turbans tied at Times Square

Turban Day celebrations at Times Square in New York City on Saturday, May 6, 2023. PHOTO: courtesy film maker Tirlok Malik

More than two thousand people gathered at the Times Square in Manhattan, New York City, to celebrate the Turban Day on Saturday, May 6, 2023. New Yorkers and tourists from all over the world participated in the day’s cultural program which included live music from the stage, traditional Bhangra dance, turban tying, and a sampling of traditional Sikh cuisine.

New Yorkers, visitors and tourists enjoy the Turban Day celebrations at NYC’s Times Square on Saturday, May 6, 2023. PHOTO: Tirlok Malik
Sikh children in colorful turbans came specially to celebrate the Turban Day at NYC’s Times Square on Saturday, May 6, 2023. PHOTO: courtesy Tirlok Malik

Organized by Sikhs of New York and Turban Day, Inc., the day’s program continued from 11 in the morning till 5 in the evening, as spectators came and went. Intending to spread awareness about the Sikh religion and the turban wearing which is considered a part of an honorable duty of the Sikhs, the day’s program also involved turban tying when volunteers talked about its importance to those who were getting turbaned. A significant part of the day’s participants were Sikh children and adult artists who had traveled specially from other parts of the country to perform at the event.

New Yorkers, visitors from other states and tourists had fun getting a turban tied on their head which was also gifted to them by the organizers, at the Turban Day at NYC’s Times Square on May 6, 2023. PHOTO: courtesy Tirlok Malik

Held every year on April 13th, with an exception of this year’s event held on May 6, the Times Square event has been one of the largest attended events in the world. In 2018, the day became part of the Guinness World Record for ‘most turbans tied in 8 hours’, with more than 5,000 turbans tied and given away.

In 2019, during the 7th year celebration of the Turban Day, organizers claimed, more than 38,000 turbans had been tied till date, and the event had received 1 million views and reached more than 12 million digitally. More than 10,000 volunteers had already provided assistance. Ice-cream makers Ben & Jerry had also joined the campaign by putting it on their social media and giving out coupons for their ice-creams.

NYC based filmmaker Tirlok Malik, left, takes a selfie with friends flaunting their gift of turbans on Turban Day at Times Square, May 6, 2023. PHOTO: courtesy Tirlok Malik

This year, according to the organizers, more than 2,500 turbans were already given away by late afternoon. Sikhs consider the turban as a valuable legacy gifted by the Sikh Gurus which stands for equality, justice and humanity.

Organizers of the Turban Day said, the day aims to eliminate unnecessary hatred and create an atmosphere of trust and a sense of community. As mentioned in a 2019 news article in News India Times, Sikhs in the U.S. have faced escalating hate crimes after 9/11, especially due to their turbans, and Sikh children continue to experience bullying and discrimination at school.

International Turban Day is celebrated every year on April 13 in all parts of the world. April 13 holds a special significance for the followers of the Sikh religion. According to the organizers, that day Guru Gobind Singh established the Khalsa Panth at Anandpur Sahib. Baisakhi or new year is also celebrated that day.

The Turban Day is celebrated every year in Toronto and other parts of Canada, including Manitoba. The turban is officially recognized as a component of Canada’s diversity and culture on this day. In Toronto, the day is celebrated publicly with turban tying, free community kitchen, martial arts demonstrations, live music and face painting. The day has been officially declared The Turban Day by the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba recently and April 13, 2023 was the first official Turban Day in Manitoba celebrated during the province’s fifth annual Sikh Heritage Month.

The Turban Day is also celebrated on many University campuses around the U.S., including New York’s Columbia University and Washington University.



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