As Vaisakhi is around the corner, New York’s growing community of Sikhs organized Turban Day as part of the annual mid-April celebration, which is celebrated by millions of Sikhs annually. They created a world record by tying thousands of turbans within a few hours and without any doubt, the Guinness World Record gave a certification to the organization for the most turbans tied in 8 hours. The event was organized to spread awareness about the faith amid incidents of hate crimes against the Sikh community.
One such example of the incident was the racist attack on a Sikh person named Ravneet Singh. A British citizen had tried to remove the turban of Singh when he was trying to get a pass to enter the Parliament House to meet a politician. The incident had caused disturbance among the Sikh community. For a Sikh, the turban is known as the dastaar, it is a religious requirement which has been made mandatory by their Guru. It represents faith for male Sikhs and there are no if’s and but’s about wearing it. The turban has a special cultural and spiritual significance and is also a symbol of royalty. In India, the turban automatically assumes the place of a crown. It is the turban which makes a Sikh- a sardaar, which means lord or chief.
The founder of non-profit organization, Chanpreet Singh, told that over 9,000 turbans had been tied, setting a world record in just a few hours. He said that turbans were tied to visitors regardless of age, color, gender or race, adding that these represented both Sikh and American core values.
“The Turban Day brought together hundreds of volunteers from the Sikh community who tie colorful turbans on New Yorkers, tourists and Americans from across the country visiting Times Square. These are core Sikh values and American values that make us Sikh Americans. Our diversity is our strength.”
The volunteers interacted with the visitors to explain them about the Sikh religion, its customs and culture. The turban has often been misunderstood and linked with terrorism, particularly after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Sikhs have faced discrimination and even violent attacks from Americans who mistook them for terrorists and religious extremists. Turban Day also had colorful cultural and musical presentations.
Visitors included young children and men, were seen excitedly taking pictures/ videos and proudly walking around with their new headgear.
Representatives from Guinness World Record judged the event in Times Square and presented the organization with a successful world record breaking attempt by tying the most turbans in one place in the world.
This year on March 27, the British Parliament celebrated Turban Day to let the British people know about the Sikh community. It was reported that all the MPs would wear turban during the celebration.