May 19th, 2024

College celebrates International Turban Day

By Lethbridge Herald on April 13, 2024.

Herald photo by Alejandra Pulido-Guzman Sukhman Singh and Taran Sandhu tie a turban around Stefan Yoseph during the third annual International Turban Day Friday at Lethbridge College.

Alejandra Pulido-Guzman
Lethbridge Herald

The Lethbridge College community once again had an opportunity to learn all there is to know about turbans during their third annual International Turban Day event Friday. 

Gurpreet Singh, president of the Sikh Society of Lethbridge, Alberta and Awalpreet Singh, president of the Sikh students of Lethbridge, Alberta Club at Lethbridge College spoke about the event.  

“It was great for the first two years, so we try to make it bigger this year, so we’ll have a turban tying competition,” said Gurpreet. 

He said it is great to be back at the college to be able to have conversations with anyone who has questions about turbans, as many hesitate to ask in fear of coming across offensive. 

“This is a great opportunity to start conversations because people are interested in knowing. Usually people hesitate to ask because they don’t want to say something that can be hurtful to somebody, so having this opportunity is amazing,” said Gurpreet. 

He said questions have been asked while those interested had a turban tied on their head. He added that it was a great setting as it gave them the opportunity to talk while performing a task. 

“People were coming asking how long does it take to tie a turban? when they see this big fabric they wonder how long it takes, also they asked what are the colours signify? And then they start talking,” said Gurpreet. 

He said during those kinds of conversations they were able to explain that the turban is not just worn because of religious reasons. 

“For us Sikhs it is a religious thing, but in India and other parts, going bareheaded is disrespectful to your elders, so we keep our heads covered almost all the time,” said Gurpreet. 

He explained that wearing a turban is not just religious but also cultural and social, as many cultures wear turbans for special occasions like weddings and that is why there are multiple colours to choose from, with some of them having a specific meaning behind them. 

“A saffron colour has a religious significance in our religion, also a dark blue which you will see more often and then the third one is white, worn by a mature kind of elderly sort of people, any other colour is more like a fashion sense,” said Gurpreet. 

Awalpreet spoke about the importance of sharing information about turbans and being able to do it freely at the college. 

“There is a lot of misinformation around the college students about why is the turban important and many people asks us, so that’s why we thought it was a good idea to hold international turban day, so people can learn our culture,” said Awalpreet. 

He said he was blessed to be at a college that allows him to express himself and share his culture openly, which encourages and motivates him to share his values with the community. 

“I never expected the turban day to be such a success and last year we had such a good response that we are trying to make it bigger and hopefully next year it can be even bigger,” said Awalpreet. 

He said within the first hour around 25 turbans had been tied and he was expecting many more to be tied throughout the event. 

Gurpreet echoed his words on the desire of making the event even bigger and shared that some plans have already started to take place. 

“We want to keep growing. I already have a grant awarded to me and we are trying to go for not just a turban but all kinds of headwear that you see in southern Alberta,” said Gurpreet. 

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