A Sikh street parade

This year’s Sikh Parade, hosted by Gurdwara Sikh Sangat Tauranga, marks 350 years since the birthday of Guru Gobind Singh, and will be held on January 7.

“Last year 5,000 people attended the parade,” says Gurudawra Sikh Sangat Tauranga spokesperson Puran Singh.

“This year it will be an even bigger parade because it’s 350 years birthday of Guru Gobind Singh.”

“There will be a Scottish pipe band playing, and Members of Parliament from Auckland attending.”

Guru Gobind Singh was the last of the 10 Gurus, who transformed the Sikh faith.

In 1699 the 10th Guru created the Khalsa, a community of the faithful who wore visible symbols of their faith and trained as warriors.

January 7 marks the birth of Khalsa, or the 10th Guru, and is regarded as a symbolic day equivalent to Christians celebrating Christmas – and the birth of Christ.

Guru Gobind Singh introduced the turban and the salwar kameez that Sikhs wear today.

The street parade is part of a traditional Indian ritual with the crowd marching for a two-hour period, chanting Sikh prayers and hymns while dressed in traditional Indian garb. Free entertainment, food and drink will be provided.

The parade will leave at 11am from Burrow St, head along 14th Ave, past Fraser St to Tauranga Boy’s College grounds where speeches will be held.

From there it will progress past Memorial Park on 11th Ave, along Fraser St to 13th Ave and back to Burrow St.