Saturday, May 12, 2012

Vaisakhi 2012 celebration & Turban Day in Oslo (Norway)

The Vaisakhi 2012 celebration in Oslo (Norway) was a week full of different activities.It reached its peek on 14th April when hundreds of Sikhs marched through the main street of Oslo, and over 1500 Norwegians wore turbans in all imaginable colours. Sikhs arrived in Norway in the beginning of the 1970´s.Since then,Vaisakhi has been celebrated in Norway and Vaisakhi celebration has gone through several milestones.For instance,when first Gurdwara was established in 1984(Oslo),and the first time Sikhs marched through the main street of Oslo.This year the Nagar Kirtan ended up at Rådhusplassen (Town Hall square, in the middle of central Oslo) where different activities were held and langar was served. One of the main activities is the Norwegian Turban Day.
In 2010 a group of young Norwegian Sikhs felt that even though the Nagar Kirtan is extremely beautiful, the point of walking through central Oslo fade away when we forget to actively invite the Norwegians (non-Sikhs). People not familiar to Sikhism observe a lot of turbans, long beards, kirpans and hear us screaming something they can’t understand. Those who aren´t used to this might find it bit scary. Having this in mind, UngeSikher (Young Sikhs) under Gurudwara Sri Guru Nanak Dev Ji – Oslo, decided to do something, and arranged the first Norwegian Turban Day in 2010.It was a great success.
This year The Norwegian Turban Day was held for the third time.Several tents were put up at the Town Hall square and the guests went through a route consisting of several posts.When they leave the tent they are told to show the turban respect if they want to keep it. In the tent we hang up posters and photos of Sikhs that provide information about Sikhism. Not least,representatives from Young Sikhs are there to break the barriers. The excitement and positive feedback from the guests was enormous. Not only did several thousand people visited, but over 1500 tried and kept their turbans. Over 1500 Norwegians from 2-90 years walked around in the city with colourful turbans! In a time where Sikh turbans are unfamiliar and seen as scary; it is important to invite the rest of the society and make them understand that even though you wear a turban you are not scary.Almost all the big newspapers and TV-channels covered The Turban Day. Aim of the Norwegian Turban Day is to re-launch the turban as a symbol of solidarity, equality and religious freedom. The past years have been characterized of prejudices in the public debate, not least; there is growing tendency of polarizations in the society. With The Turban Day contributes in reducing the gap between Sikhs and the society. Link:

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