rose parade

A view of the Sikh float at the 2018 Rose Parade. (Sikh-American Float - Rose Parade Pasadena CA/Facebook photo)

On Jan. 1, 2019, the Sikh Indian American community of Southern California will be featured in the annual Rose Parade for the fifth consecutive year.

This year, the theme for the Rose Parade is ‘Melody of Life - celebrating the universal language of music.’ The Sikh Indian American float will highlight kirtan (Sikh devotional music) and feature 119,000 flowers that bring together several elements emphasizing the religious significance music holds in the Sikh community and faith, according to the Sikh Coalition.

Five local Sikh musicians will join other Sikh community leaders on the float as they play kirtan throughout the parade.

“Growing up in California, it’s incredible to now consistently see a Sikh float in the Tournament of Roses Parade,” said Bhajneet Singh, a member of the Sikh committee responsible for the float entry for the fifth consecutive year. “The universal language of music resonates with everybody and we can’t wait to further introduce Americans to the Sikh community through our musical traditions.”

Kirtan remains a primary form of Sikh worship and can be observed in gurdwaras (Sikh houses of worship) across the world.

Nearly 500 Sikh volunteers Dec. 27 began building the Sikh Tournament of Roses float at the Phoenix Decorating Company in Irwindale, Calif. The community will also serve langar (free community kitchen) to hundreds of Tournament of Roses volunteers.

The Tournament of Roses, which is broadcast across the United States, is a 130-year-old American tradition that attracts up to one million visitors.

“The Southern California Sikh community continues to invest significant time, money and resources into the Rose Parade because it’s an incredible opportunity for us to deepen local community relationships while better educating Americans about who Sikhs are,” said Minu Singh, the creative director of the Sikh float.

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