First Time Sikh Float, Marchers in Houston’s Thanksgiving Parade

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HOUSTON: What can welcome in the spirit of the Holidays than a parade, lighting of Christmas lights and fireworks? And this year marked the first time a float and marchers from the Sikh community in the Metroplex participated in the traditional 66th Annual HEB Thanksgiving Day Parade which wrapped its way through the avenues of Downtown on Thursday, November 26.

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The Sikh Martial Arts group, Miri Piri Gatka, organized and led by Gursham Singh stood out with its with outfits and colorful yellow turbans with a  blue sash proclaiming the academy’s name; blue side bag across the chest and a yellow waistband. The float was simply decorated in the same colors, the Sikh emblem and had slogans declaring Sikhs of America and faith in one God and Guru Nanak. In front of the float marched young kids from the MPG Academy displaying their martial arts skills and behind them came 75 Sikh men and women from area Gurdwaras in traditional clothing, waving American flags.

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Along the route, the Sikh float played religious songs to a Punjabi dhol beat and spoke to the crowd on the sound systems, mingling with them, taking photos, and responding to their cheers. The Gatka team members were dressed in white attire with a yellow dastar and kamar kasa. “This was a great chance to show that Sikhs are part of the mainstream America and that we are equally joyous in the Thanksgiving celebrations,” said Gursharn Singh. “This was a great opportunity to showcase our Sikhi and be part of an American holiday celebration.”

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The Gatka kids worked hard to make his a success, Gursharn Singh said, adding that he had made this team up in two months before the Thanksgiving parade. “The gatka kids worked and practiced very hard for the parade and I can say it turned out amazing. They kids never complained about bugs, the freezing weather or anything else during gatka practice. They always came on time and gave it their best during practice and their hardwork paid off.”