Sikh community celebrates Vaisakhi in Caruthers


Valley Sikhs have been celebrating Vaisakhi in Caruthers for more than 20 years. It's a time to celebrate religion, culture, the Sikh New Year, and to pass the traditions on to their children.

Dozens of teams took part in dancing competitions as part of the Vaisakhi celebration -- an event that's not just about religion.

"This is also the beginning of the new year in our culture. This is also harvest time back home, and we have farmers and everybody else celebrating the beginning and end of harvest," said Ike Grewal, an event spokesperson.

The key to this celebration is to keep the culture alive for the younger members of the Sikh community.

"The kids love to keep their heritage; a lot of kids are in their costumes, dancing," said Jack Sanghera, an event organizer.

For 9-year-old Sharreen Dhaliwal it's just a good time.

"We get medals, and we pretty much have fun when we are dancing," said Dhaliwal.

It's also a chance to help the community. A team of physicians was there to remind these hard-working people to take care of themselves.

"Not only screening, give them some education so that they understand in Punjabi what they really need to do," said physician Harchran Singh Chann.

"A lot of them don't know they have diabetes, they don't know they have hypertension, this is the first time they hear that," said physician Gurdeep Ranu

But the emphasis was on celebrating an ancient faith and culture that has made the Central Valley their home.

It's estimated that there about 40,000 members of the Sikh community living in the Central Valley. About 5,000 of them turned out for Sunday's celebration in Caruthers.

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