Sikh community celebrates its 10th Annual Khalsa Day Parade in Kent

Kent had it’s 10th Annual Khalsa Day Parade on May 21 at ShoWare Center. There were a sea of brightly dressed Sikhs celebrating the founding of their community known as the Khalsa.

Three hundred and eighteen years ago, during the Baisakhi, a traditionally important harvest festival in the Punjab, their leader Guru Gobind Singh “wished to establish a new Sikh order—the Khalsa. The word derives from an Arabic word khalis, meaning “pure.” The Khalsa would be a disciplined body of God’s own saints…men and women of courage and dedication who would adhere to the highest codes of conduct and the highest morality. Members of the Khalsa would never flinch in performing their duty to God and their fellow human beings.” (

It’s very important to the Sikh community to dedicate their lives to the service of others, and with the 50,000 Sikhs residing in Kent and Renton, that’s a lot of community service being done.

Thousands turned up for the celebration on Sunday. Everyone shared in food, music and prayer before the parade. Called the Nagar Kirtan, the parade is a Sikh custom which involves a processional singing holy hymns throughout a community. Many cover their heads, wear the color orange and bow their heads to the holy scripture which is placed on a float.

Also at the Showare Center were exhibits showing contributions of Sikhs and demonstrations of Gatka, a type of martial training.

The parade was a moving experience with thousands of people walking along the flower-covered floats and singing prayers. Some were solemn, some laughing, all dressed in bright colors and enjoying being together as a community.

Michelle Gehlman-Teeter

Michelle Gehlman-Teeter is a writer and photographer from Kent, Washington. Michelle is a contributor to She loves to find interesting places to go and fun things to do and share them with her readers. Click links to see her writing, photography or Facebook page.

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