Carteret, NJ – At 11:00 on Saturday morning, Mayor Dan Reiman will be joined by the Borough Council, representatives from the county and state, and hundreds of members of Carteret’s Sikh community to celebrate New Jersey’s second Sikh Day parade. Normally celebrated around April 13, Sikh Day was originally established to celebrate the 1567 founding of the Khalsa Order, into which Sikhs can be baptized.
Last year Mayor Reiman welcomed members of Carteret’s Indian community to the town’s first such parade, which was attended by an estimated 500 Sikhs, as well as local officials and dignitaries.
“This event has become more than a time to appreciate their origins and religion,” Mayor Reiman has stated. “It’s a time when we gather and celebrate the rich diversity that has become unified in Carteret. The Sikh community has been an ever growing presence here. With its strong traditions, family values, and ethics, theirs is clearly a people committed to a vision for both their own unity and Carteret’s progress.”
Approximately 26 million people worldwide identify or associate themselves with the Sikh faith. Sikhism is the youngest of the world religions, barely five hundred years old, with Sikhs of different cultural backgrounds living across the globe, but similar to conventional Christianity in sharing a monotheistic faith stressing the equality of all men and women.
The Sikh religion was founded by the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Sahib Ji (1469 – 1539), and shaped by nine successors in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in South Asia. This was at a time when India was being torn apart by castes, sectarianism, religious factions, and fanaticism. Sikhism is not a sect of Hinduism or Islam, or synthesis of these two faiths, as is often misperceived. Sikhs bind themselves to 3 basic principles:
(1) Meditating and living in the remembrance of God
(2) Earning a living by honest means
(3) Sharing the fruits of one’s labor with others.
Saturday’s event will begin with a ceremonial raising of the Sikh flag, followed by a parade beginning and ending at the town’s historic Memorial Municipal Building. The program is as follows:
11:00 a.m.: Flag-raising ceremony
11:15 a.m.: Parade begins
12:45 p.m.: Presentation by Mayor Daniel J. Reiman
1:30 p.m.: Vote of Thanks
The event will be very well attended.