By SHERIDAN CYR
The Town Council honored the Sikh community of Southington at the meeting on Monday, Sept. 25 by declaring National Sikh Day, a global celebration, as Vaisakhi Day in Southington.
National Sikh Day is April 14 on the Nanakshahi calendar, a calendar with months based in traditional Hindu calendars and numbering years based on the era 1469. The date falls on Sept. 25 in the Gregorian calendar.
Members of the Sikh Temple of Southington, the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Darbar located at 1610 West St., were present to accept the proclamation as declared by chair Michael Riccio on behalf of the council.
Riccio explained that Sikhism was founded in the Punjab region of South Asia over five centuries ago and introduced to the United States. in the 19th century.
“Sikhs in the United States pursue diverse professions and walks of life, making rich contributions to social, cultural and economic vibrancy of the United States, including service as members of the Armed Forces,” said Riccio.
Maninder Arora, President of the Connecticut Sikh Association Committee, accepted the proclamation on behalf of the Gurdwara.
“It was more than 130 years ago when the first Sikh family moved to the United States. The Sikh religion today is followed by around 39 million people, and a half million in the United States,” said Arora. “In Connecticut, we have the biggest Gurdwara, which you can call a Sikh temple.”
Arora said Sikhism is based on four foundations: devotion, total living, equality of mankind and justice. “In Sikh temple, anyone is welcome from any faith any religion any community.”
Suman Samra, a member of the Gurdwara, thanked the council for declaring Vaisakhi Day.
“We are very grateful to the community we have in Southington,” said Samra. “You have always been warm, welcoming and inclusive. You have been with us as we’ve grown, as we have grieved and as we have celebrated.”
Arora then presented Riccio with a plaque in gratitude to the town council for national recognition of Sikh Day, and invited the council and audience to visit the Gurdwara any time.
To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Sheridan Cyr, email her at SCyr@SouthingtonObserver.com.