Vaisakhi Parade: Values of Sikhism to wash over the streets of Surrey

Published: April 16, 2014

VANCOUVER DESI

Vaisakhi Parade Surrey

U.S. Consul General in Vancouver, Anne Callaghan. Mark van Manen/PNG Staff

The streets of Surrey will be filled with the colours, sounds and sights of Sikhism this Saturday as some 200,000 people are expected to participate in the city’s annual Khalsa Day Parade to celebrate Vaisakhi.

The parade or Nagar Kirtan – considered the largest of its kind outside India – held for the last 12 years will be a lively celebration to mark the Sikh New Year, pay tribute to the harvest and commemorate one of the most important days in the Sikh calendar – the creation of the Khalsa.

The Khalsa, was founded in 1699 as a Sikh brotherhood and sisterhood to fight adversity and continues to be at the heart of Sikhism.

From here the Sikh nation grew with a renewed identity and as a collective faith underlined by the principles of sewa or sacrifice for their fellow human beings.

“The values of Sikhism will wash over the streets of Surrey this Saturday… everybody is welcome,” said Harbinder Singh Sewak, one of the key organizers.

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Along the parade route in Surrey, Sikhs will share a message of peace, equality, and freedom of religion regardless of caste or creed, while community volunteers will hand out food and drinks to everyone in attendance.

Over 2500 participants representing over 20 community organizations will participate in this event, with thousands more celebrating the spirit of Vaisakhi in roadside booths along the parade route.

The most important float in the procession will carry the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy scripture of the Sikhs, regarded as the teachings of the religion’s Ten Gurus
Members of the Canadian Armed Forces, for the fourth year, will be part of the parade.

“Knowing that the Sikh community’s values of duty and honour are the same as the Canadian military, it is always with pride that our soldiers, sailors and airmen and women get to interact with the Sikh community,” said Tung Chan, Honorary Captain of the Royal Canadian Navy.

This year the festivities will also see a massive drive for the Surrey Food Bank.

Vaisakhi Parade Surrey

Consul General of Greece in Vancouver, Ilias Kremmydas

“The giving of food is at the heart of the Khalsa celebration,” said Moninder Singh, Dasmesh Darbar Temple spokesman, urging those attending the parade to bring non-perishable food items.

Anne Callaghan, the Consul General of the United States in her congratulatory message to the organisers described the celebration as “an event that promotes cultural exchange by bringing together people from all races, cultures and religions to mark one of the most important days for the Sikh community, the creation of the Khalsa.”

One of the guests of honour at this year’s parade is the Consul General of Greece for Western Canada, Ilias Kremmydas.

“It is a great pleasure and privilege for me to celebrate the great feast of Vaisakhi with the local Sikh community,” said Kremmydas.

“Living in Vancouver, a city with many Greeks, I have come to admire the Sikh community for its dynamism, its prosperity, its inherent value of offering to the wider society, seen every day by the big numbers of Sikhs in the armed forces, the police and the hospitals, as well as its willingness to help and protect those in need,” he said.

Premier Christy Clark said Vaisakhi is an important reminder of the proud and enduring Sikh culture. “ I commend you on your leadership in the community, and your love of B.C, ‘ she said in her annual message.The parade begins at 8am at the Dashmesh Darbar at 12885, 85th Avenue in Surrey.

Parade Route 

Attendees of all cultures are welcome at the Surrey Vaisakhi Parade, which begins at the Gurdwara Dashmesh Darbar Temple (12885 85th Avenue in Surrey).

The parade, which features a variety of floats, community groups, live music and dancers and performers travels along 124th Street, turns left onto 75th Avenue, continues on 76th Avenue, onto 128th Street, then back to the Temple.

More info at surreyvaisakhiparade.ca.

This content is produced as part of a joint venture between Vancouverdesi.com and the South Asian Post.

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