Photos by Steve Shay
Left, Ashbreet Kaur, 12, of Burien & her mother, Pravin, wearing white, attend Vaisakhi, the annual Sikh festival celebrated worldwide, and, in this case, at the ShoWare Center in Kent Saturday, May 4. Many others from Burien, as well as SeaTac and Tukwila attended on a perfect sunny day.

SLIDESHOW: Thousands celebrate annual Sikh festival, Vaisakhi Day

Numerous Burien, SeaTac & Tukwila residents belonging to the Sikh community attend

SLIDESHOW

Vaisakhi, the annual Sikh festival is celebrated worldwide, and, in this case, at the ShoWare Center in Kent Saturday, May 4. Featured were prayer, music, exhibits, food, demonstrations, and a parade. Vaisakhi Day marks the new year for the Sikh community & is historically the festival of spring harvest in Punjab, India. Over 3,000 attended the ShoWare event, many from Burien, SeaTac and Tukwila.

Gurdwara (place of worship) Singh Sabha of Renton sponsored and organized the festival.

"All the communities got involved," said Burien resident Gurdev Singh Mann, President, Gurudwara Singh Sabha of Renton, WA., serving 25,000 Sikhs. "People from the Hindu, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities were invited. Government officials came. I'm very happy."

Many know Gurdev Singh Mann as the owner of the South Park 76 Gas Station just south of the South Park Bridge on 14th Ave. S. He was an outspoken advocate for the new South Park Bridge and his business slowed down when the old bridge was closed.

I do this every year," said Harvinder Bual of Tukwila. She attended with her sons, Santpartap, 13, and "VP." 10, who go to St. Bernadette School in Burien.

"I'm very proud of my heritage," said Santpartap.

Satpal Singh Purewal has live in SeaTac over 20 years. He drives a Yellow Cab and runs a Sikh community news website, www.younewstoday.com. He is a well-known advocate here in the Sikh community.

He explained, "On the Vaisakhi Day in 1699 the 10th profit of the Sikhs, (Guru Gobind Singh), said all humans are equal. This was the first day of the Khalsa, (the collective body of all initiated Sikhs). The Hindu ruling party was not treating people they called the 'lower castes' equally so we brought them together. We are all equal. We are sitting together, eating together. The basic message is to live and let live."

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