Navy celebrates Vaisakhi

Sikh Gurdwara Perth youth coordinator Prabhjot Singh shows HMAS Stirling Commanding Officer Captain Gary Lawton how to tie a turban during Vaisakhi celebrations. Photo: Leading Seaman Ronnie Baltoft

Navy celebrates Vaisakhi

One of the most vibrant events in the Sikh calendar, Vaisakhi, was recently celebrated at HMAS Stirling with colourful traditional dresses, presentations and traditional food. 

Vaisakhi, the Sikh New Year, is a time to celebrate the creation of Khalsa Panth in 1699, when the tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh, transformed Sikhs into a family of soldier saints, in front of thousands at Anandpur Sahib (in present day Punjab, India), to fight against injustice and to uphold equality and freedom for all.

During Vaisakhi families and friends get together while celebrating and commemorating the events of 1699. 

To honour the occasion and encourage the Navy community to learn more about Vaisakhi and the Sikhs, the Chaplaincy Centre at Stirling hosted a special celebration. 

Attending and getting involved in the festivities was the Stirling Chaplaincy team and Commanding Officer Captain Gary Lawton. 

“I feel honoured to share today’s Vaisakhi with our Sikh members at HMAS Stirling, their families and distinguished guests from the local West Australian Sikh community,” Captain Lawton said. 

“During my career I have met many Sikhs, whether serving or supporting in the APS, and have always been impressed by their friendliness, sincerity and determination.

“They clearly demonstrate that they live up to the religious values and are a terrific example to us all.”

Submarine Force Chaplain Miloslav Velebir did not only help organise the event, but also got involved during the festivities. 

“The highlight for me was to learn how to tie a turban and wearing it with pride,” Chaplain Velebir said.

“I have learned so much about the Sikh’s history and our long military bond, the contribution Sikhs make to the ADF is invaluable.”

The Sikh qualities of respect, fairness and helping those less fortunate are equally important at this joyous time and were demonstrated during the celebrations.

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