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Territorial Dispatch

A Parade for Thousands

Nov 09, 2023 03:30PM ● By Seti Long, photos by Chris Pedigo

Each year this float is elaborately decorated in honor of its cargo, the sacred text, the Guru Granth Sahib.

YUBA CITY, CA (MPG) - The Yuba-Sutter community readied for a very busy weekend as the 44th annual Sikh Parade returned.

Yuba City is home to a very large Sikh population which celebrates Nagar Kirtan, traditionally held the first Sunday in November. The event is described by as a religious procession of individuals singing holy hymns. The Sikh holy scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib, is part of the procession and is accompanied by music and sharing free food with neighbors in the community.  In our area, we know this event to be the Sikh Parade.

The 3-day event began Friday, November 3, 2023, with a fireworks show, continued into Saturday with a bazaar featuring hundreds of vendor shops peddling textiles to food, and culminated Sunday, November 5th, with a religious procession throughout the community.

As part of the Nagar Kirtan celebrations, Sikh people prepare a variety of food to satiate the appetites of all those in attendance.

The 4.5 mile parade route began and ended at the Sikh Temple located on Tierra Buena Road. An opulently decorated float that carried the Guru Granth Sahib, along with religious officials of high standing, and the Sikh motorcycle riders were highlights of the parade.

This year reportedly celebrated the 550th birthday of the religions founder, Guru Nanek.

The event typically draws a huge crowd, with hundreds of thousands of people traveling to participate. It is believed that this year’s event eclipsed last year’s 200,000 in attendance, which is more than twice the reported population of Yuba City. (US Census July 2022 – population of Yuba City 69,014.)

While the event is celebrated worldwide, the Yuba City Sikh Parade is allegedly the largest of its kind outside of India. The speculation is that the 45th anniversary next November may be even larger.

The Indian Motorcycle Club made an appearance at the 2023 Sikh Parade.