November is designated as California's Sikh American Awareness and Appreciation Month to recognize the significant contributions made by Californians of Sikh heritage to our state, and to afford all Californians the opportunity to better understand, recognize, and appreciate the rich history, military service, and shared principles of Sikh Americans.
Sikhism originated in the Punjab province of India and is a relatively young tradition that was founded over 500 years ago. Sikhs first came to the United States in the late 1800s. There are an estimated 500,000 Sikhs living in America today. Sikhs have excelled in security services and transportation services, as doctors, attorneys, engineers, teachers, and small business owners. Sikhs have served and continue to serve in the United States armed forces. The first Sikh house of worship (called Gurdwara) was established in Stockton, CA, in 1912.
- Sikhs first came to the United States in the late 1800s through Angel Island Immigration Station in San Francisco, CA.
- In 1912, the first Sikh house of worship, called Gurdwara, was established in Stockton, CA.
- In 1912, the Gurdwara started six Guru Govind Singh Sahib Educational Scholarships at the University of California, Berkeley.
- In 1924, Dalip Singh Saund, a Sikh, became the first Asian American elected to the United States Congress, and served three terms from 1957 to 1963.
- Sikhs have served in all American wars since World War I. There are currently an estimated one hundred active Sikh service members in the United States Army and Air Force.
When and where did Sikhism originate?
November is designated as California's Sikh American Awareness and Appreciation Month to:
- Recognize and acknowledge the significant contributions made by Californians of Sikh heritage to our state.
- Afford all Californians the opportunity to better understand, recognize, and appreciate the rich history, military service, and shared principles of Sikh Americans.
- Condemn all hate crimes and bias incidents against Sikh Americans and encourage them to practice their faith freely and fearlessly.
How to observe California's Sikh American Awareness and Appreciation Month:
- Learn about Sikhism and its inclusive principles.
- Learn about the origin of Sikhism and Sikh history.
- Visit a Sikh parade. (e.g., Yuba City holds a Sikh parade on the first Sunday of November every year, rain or shine, and this international event attracts up to 100,000 participants from all over the United States, Canada, and even abroad).
Facts About Sikhs
- Sikh religious holy scripture is called 'Guru Granth Sahib,' and the Sikh place of worship is called 'Gurdwara.' Sikhs believe in one universal god.
- Sikh house of worship, Gurdwara, serves free food to anyone irrespective of caste, creed, religion, race, nationality, gender or social status. Some Gurdwaras run the world's biggest free community kitchens.
- Many Sikhs wear turban on their heads. For example, current World Bank president Ajay Banga is a practicing Sikh who wears a Turban.
- Many Sikhs are serving the American armed forces wearing turbans.