Preparing for oldest Vaisakhi parade in North America has Vancouver temple officials hopping

Published: April 11, 2013
Vasakhi parade 1

Vaisakhi parade preparations are underway at the Ross Street Temple in Vancouver, B.C., April 11, 2013. Pictured (left to right) are Capt Sidhu, Daljit Uppal, Kashmit Lasoda, Amarjit Rai and Sohan Singh Deo. Nick Procaylo/PNG

 

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

It’s been an all-consuming month for Vancouver’s Ross Street Temple as they gear up for their annual Vaisakhi parade Saturday.

With about 20 floats from various South Asian community groups spanning the nearly 10 km parade route — and with anywhere from 70,000 to 100,0000 spectators expected — this week has been the temple’s busiest yet.

“We start at least a month before trying to prepare the floats, getting them ready, decorating them, and getting all… the dresses together for the people who walk in front,” said gurdwara office manager, AJ Rai. “In temple (we’re) preparing sweets — we do all our own preparation, we don’t buy anything from anywhere.

“(We’re) pressure washing the whole Sikh temple because all the guests will be coming … trying to clean up the place, deck up the place nice.”

Vancouver’s Vaisakhi parade is the oldest in North America, which started at an old temple on West 2nd Avenue until it moved to its current location at 8000 Ross St.

“Vaisakhi — it has two meanings, actually,” said Rai.

The first is the celebration of the harvest for farmers in Punjab.

“It’s time to cut their crops and benefit from the fruits of the hard work,” said Rai. “They are all farmers (in Punjab) – so obviously when the farmers are now beginning to harvest the crops and sell the crops and make some money back … that’s why it’s a celebration time.”

Related stories:

But the second and “bigger reason now for the Sikhs to celebrate” is that Vaisakhi marks the birthday of Sikhs.

“This is the day when the Sikhs came into being,” said Rai, adding it dates back to 1699. “The people started wearing turbans — the identity of all the turbans and long hair, that’s what started in 1699.”

The big celebration starts off like any other day, with hymns starting at the temple from 7 a.m., but at 11 a.m. the parade will kick off from the Ross Street temple gates.

The gurdwara’s float will lead the way, boasting the holy book and singers performing religious hymns, with Sikhs marching ahead outfitted in the colourful orange dress of baptized Sikhs, blue turbans and swords in hand.

“They will walk like they walked in 1699,” said Rai.

They’ll be followed by floats from local bhangra groups, the Punjabi school, police band and Sikh Motorcycle Club to name a few.

The parade will head south down Ross Street and along SW Marine Drive over to Main Street, moving north to 49th Aveune, where they’ll break for speeches as well as a Vancouver Heritage Foundation’s Places that Matter Plaque Project presentation to the noteworthy Punjabi Market at All India Sweets. The parade will then continue east to Fraser Street, south to 57th Avenue, and back to the Ross Street temple.

And of course, all along the parade route, vendors and restaurants will be out in full force with Vaisakhi’s trademark free food.

“One of the very big things in Sikh religion or every Sikh temple is free food,” said Rai.

The tradition started with Guru Nanak, who would always have a hot meal prepared for visitors.

“In India, in the olden days, people used to walk – no cars or motorcycles – and people came from far off, they were hungry,” said Rai. “Whoever comes to the house of the guru must be fed.”

“Food became the main part of the Sikh religion.”

lcahute@theprovince.com
twitter.com/larissacahute


Tags: , ,





Featured

Sri Lankan Air Force pilots fly MiG-27 jet fighters during a passing out ceremony of 329 men and officers in the north-eastern town of Trincomalee on August 21, 2009. Ishara S. KODIKARA/AFP/Getty Images

Motorcyclist miraculously survives crash with Indian fighter jet

VANCOUVER DESI A 26-year-old groom-to-be miraculously survived after an Indian fighter jet collided with his motorcycle in Rajasthan, according to Britain’s Daily Mail. Loon Singh,…
Continue Reading »

Barinder Rasode now is director of social responsibility at Resource Works, a non-profit society that researches the economic impacts of B.C.’s natural resource industries. File photo: Richard Lam/PNG

Barinder Rasode, former Surrey councillor and mayoral candidate, hired by non-profit society

VANCOUVER DESI Former Surrey city councillor and mayoral candidate Barinder Rasode has a new post outside civic politics. Rasode was appointed to Fraser Health’s board…
Continue Reading »

Mahdi Halane was filled with life before being shot in the neck in 2006 as an innocent victim of a drive-by shooting. He died in 2012. A Surrey man has now been charged with manslaughter in the case. Submitted photo/Surrey Now

Family of innocent victim of Surrey drive-by shooting ‘very nervous’ as they face son’s alleged killer in court eight years later

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW SURREY, B.C. — The Halane family received another knock at their door late Friday night. The last time police came calling, in…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

Barinder Rasode now is director of social responsibility at Resource Works, a non-profit society that researches the economic impacts of B.C.’s natural resource industries. File photo: Richard Lam/PNG

Barinder Rasode, former Surrey councillor and mayoral candidate, hired by non-profit society

VANCOUVER DESI Former Surrey city councillor and mayoral candidate Barinder Rasode has a new post outside civic politics. Rasode was appointed to Fraser Health’s board…
Continue Reading »

Mahdi Halane was filled with life before being shot in the neck in 2006 as an innocent victim of a drive-by shooting. He died in 2012. A Surrey man has now been charged with manslaughter in the case. Submitted photo/Surrey Now

Family of innocent victim of Surrey drive-by shooting ‘very nervous’ as they face son’s alleged killer in court eight years later

TOM ZYTARUK SURREY NOW SURREY, B.C. — The Halane family received another knock at their door late Friday night. The last time police came calling, in…
Continue Reading »

A woman is in hospital following a serious assault in a Surrey home Monday. Surrey RCMP said the woman suffered head injuries from a beating that occurred in a residence in the 12800-block 100th Avenue just before 1:30 p.m. Photo by Shane MacKichan for The Province.

Woman in serious condition after being beaten in Surrey home

CHERYL CHAN VANCOUVER DESI A woman is in hospital following a serious assault in a Surrey home Monday. Surrey RCMP said the woman suffered head…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Vancouver-BC

Raise your hand, send us a selfie and make a statement against racism (with video)

VANCOUVER DESI Vancouver Desi’s digital anti-racism campaign, Raise Your Hands Against Racism, officially kicked off Thursday, with people across the Lower Mainland sending in selfies…
Continue Reading »

FILE PHOTO: A leopard walks with a tranquiliser dart in the residential area of Jyotikuchi in Guwahati, the capital city of the northeastern state of Assam on March 15, 2009. Three people were mauled by the leopard after the cat strayed into the city before it was tranquilised by forestry department officials. BIJU BORO/AFP/Getty Images

Leopard in India beaten to death by villagers after vicious attack

IANS Kolkata  – A young male leopard was beaten to death by a mob of angry villagers on Monday after it strayed into a West…
Continue Reading »

prv0122Nfashion01

Passion for fashion turned into day job for Surrey clothing designer

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Surrey’s Davi Bains-Gill never thought her love for fashion and design could be her livelihood. She pursued a career in social…
Continue Reading »

five hole main

Donated equipment from Vancouver on its way to hockey-mad northern India

KENT SPENCER VANCOUVER DESI The neat thing about a Canadian effort to donate hockey equipment to the Himalayas is that there is a lot of…
Continue Reading »

In this Tuesday, April 2, 2013 photo, foreign tourists walk on a street near the railway station in New Delhi, India. Violence against women, and the huge publicity generated by recent attacks here, is threatening India's $17.7 billion tourism industry. AP Photo /Manish Swarup

India wants female tourists to feel safe when they visit

NATALIE OBIKO PEARSON BLOOMBERG NEWS Don’t move alone, don’t go anywhere at midnight and don’t get into a vehicle without first taking a photo of…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

desi sex

Shah Rukh Khan says he “doesn’t deserve” any awards for Happy New Year

HINDUSTAN TIMES Bollywood Badshah Shah Rukh Khan has a shocking and honest confession to make – and it’s about award functions. The Chennai Express actor…
Continue Reading »

Indian Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan during the launch of the new Hindi general entertainment television channel '&TV' and its flagship show 'Poochega  Sabse Shaana Kaun' in Mumbai on January 21, 2015. STRSTRDEL/AFP/Getty Images

Will Shah Rukh Khan be the new face for West Bengal tourism?

IANS Kolkata  – Bollywood heartthrob Shah Rukh Khan is rumoured to be part of West Bengal’s upcoming ambitious tourism campaign,  according to a senior tourism department…
Continue Reading »

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks at the Siri Fort Auditorium, a government-run event center, in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015. Obama gently nudged India Tuesday to fulfill its constitution's pledge to uphold the "dignity of the individual," drawing on his own experience as a minority in the United States as he closed out a three-day visit to New Delhi. AP Photo/Saurabh Das

Shah Rukh Khan on cloud nine after Obama shout out

IANS Mumbai  – Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan is on cloud nine after U.S. President Barack Obama incorporated his famous Senorita dialogue in his address…
Continue Reading »