The State of Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner proclaimed April 14, 2018, as “Sikh American Heritage Day” in Illinois.April 14 is Vaisakhi day which is a cultural festival in Punjab, India, but it is also significantly historic, and transformational event in the Sikh world.
Representing the Governor, Illinois Lieutenant Governor Evelyn Sanguetti came to address the congregation, and present the proclamation to the community at the Sikh Religious Society Palatine Gurdwara congregation hall in a suburb of Chicago.
The proclamation enumerated and honored the achievements, services, and contributions of Sikhs in America. Sanguetti presented the proclamation document to the trustees of the Sikh Religious Society.
The society president Dr. Pardeep Singh Gill thanked the Lieutenant Governor for coming in person to present the proclamation. She was welcomed by the Sikh Sunday school children with bouquets. Sanguetti also toured the Langar Hall and kitchen and watched flat round bread (roti) being freshly baked.
Rajinder Singh Mago coordinated the Governor’s office and the Proclamation event at the gurdwara in Palatine.
Sikhs Americans are an immigrant community from the northwestern state of Punjab in India. About 550 years old, Sikhism is the fifth largest religion in the world with about 25 to 30 million followers worldwide.
Vaisakhi Day was celebrated at gurdwaras in Palatine, Wheaton, and Chicago in Illinois with great fervor and devotion, in an ambiance of exuberance, joy, and reverence. The Sikh Religious Society (SRS) Palatine Gurdwara was full with people.
More than 1,000 devotees attended the Kirtan, Prayers, and partook of Langar (community meal). Newly initiated Khalsas walked in a ceremonial procession, bowed to the Guru and were presented to the congregation amidst cheerful chants of “Jo Bole So Nihaal, Sat Siri Akaal.”