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In 1979, the Yuba City Sikh Festival was just in its infancy, attracting a small, but energetic crowd of festival-goers.

This year, on Sunday, Nov. 4, the annual Nagar Kirtan festival and parade expects to have over 100,000 people, swamping the streets of Yuba City with fun activities and celebrations.

The event is a celebration of the birth of the first Sikh Guru and the founder of the religion.

“This is the 39th year now," said Balbir Singh Sohal, President of the Yuba City Sikh Temple. "Every year people come from all over the world and celebrate the Guru Granth Sahib.”

Dozens of vendors selling Indian clothes, jewelry, and other cultural items will be at the event.

For at least two months every year, the Sikh Temple Gurdwara in Yuba City prepares for what has been labeled as the largest Sikh event outside of India. The planning is large-scale — there are multiple activities, events, and ceremonies that occur throughout the entire weekend. The event is open to the public and is free.

Activities include:

  • Dozens of decorative floats
  • A gatka sword dancing demonstration
  • A bazaar with stopping stalls

Additionally, each year, Sikh families in the community cook and donate an incredible amount of free food to give to those who attend the event. In the past, an estimated 400,000 Indian meals have been served over a single festival weekend to attendees of the parade.

The parade marks the end of three days full of festivities. A 4.5-mile walk along a procession of floats winds through Yuba City. Rain or shine, people of all faiths, from all around the world, join the parade route as devotional hymns sail through the air.

When:

Nov. 2 – Nov. 4th

Where:

Sikh Temple Gurdwara

2468 Tierra Buena Road

Yuba City, CA 95993-9654

Schedule of events:

Friday – 9 p.m. Fireworks at the Sikh Temple

Saturday – Open House & Reception

Sunday – 11 a.m. Nagar Kirtan and Sikh Parade

Nagar Kirtan is a Sikh custom involving the processional signing of Shabads (holy hymns) throughout the community. Colorful clothing brightens the streets, with a vibrant saffron orange color dominating the scene. This orange color is worn in honor of the Khalsa Panth, as the Panj Pyaras are robed in orange.


For more information about Yuba City's Sikh community, check out the video below: