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

10336715_10152221434949315_4707600074607000802_n

Sikhs bring campaign against violence to Vancouver

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Sikhs from around the globe are bringing their efforts to “end the silence on violence” to Vancouver this weekend. U.K.-based organization…
Continue Reading »

attack on Parliament Hill

Ottawa shooter kicked out of Burnaby mosque two years ago

Zehaf-Bibeau was asked to leave the mosque, because he had “gotten a hold of keys and stuff from the mosque, and when he got out…
Continue Reading »

gambling-civic elections

Majority of Surrey mayoral candidates flat-out opposed to more casinos in the city

CHRISTOPHER POON SURREY NOW SURREY — Looking back at late 2012 and early 2013, the hot topic in Surrey was a controversial casino and entertainment…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

10336715_10152221434949315_4707600074607000802_n

Sikhs bring campaign against violence to Vancouver

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Sikhs from around the globe are bringing their efforts to “end the silence on violence” to Vancouver this weekend. U.K.-based organization…
Continue Reading »

attack on Parliament Hill

Ottawa shooter kicked out of Burnaby mosque two years ago

Zehaf-Bibeau was asked to leave the mosque, because he had “gotten a hold of keys and stuff from the mosque, and when he got out…
Continue Reading »

OTTAWA ATTACK-TERRORISM

Canadian Muslim groups denounce violence, brace for backlash following Ottawa rampage

ISHMAEL N. DARO CANADA.COM Representatives of major Canadian Muslim groups gathered in Ottawa today to reiterate their denunciation of terrorism in the name of Islam…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Stephen Harper

Stephen Harper: Attack by ‘terrorist’ on Parliament Hill won’t weaken Canada’s resolve

JOAN BRYDEN THE CANADIAN PRESS OTTAWA – The gunman who staged a deadly attack Wednesday on Parliament Hill was a terrorist whose despicable crime will…
Continue Reading »

SURREY-FIELD HOCKEY

Barinder Rasode announces plan to develop field hockey pitch in Surrey

Third field at Tamanawis Park would cost approximately $3 million KYLE BENNING SURREY NOW NEWTON – Barinder Rasode and the One Surrey team were at…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver-Surrey-Festival-India

Diwali celebrations in Vancouver and Surrey

DiwaliFest celebrates its 11th anniversary from Oct. 17 to 26 at various sites in Surrey and Vancouver. Diwali Celebration Friday, Oct. 24 at Firehall Centre…
Continue Reading »

India-weird news

Rudaali: India’s professional ‘weeping women’ demand higher pay

CEN AGENCY Professional mourners who are hired to turn up at people’s funerals in India, beat their breasts and wail, are going on strike for…
Continue Reading »

Abbotsford

Jag Khosa: Families pay the ultimate price of gang wars

DET. JAG KHOSA SPECIAL TO VANCOUVER DESI Late into the night, the parents of a young man struggled to sleep. The mother kept tossing and…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Salman Khan-Bollywood

Narendra Modi to attend Salman Khan’s sister Arpita Khan’s wedding?

HINDUSTAN TIMES If all goes as per plan, then Prime Minister Narendra Modi just might be attending the wedding of Salman Khan’s sister, Arpita Khan….
Continue Reading »

Bollywood kiss

Bollywood’s king of kisses Emraan Hashmi refuses to dance with the queen of sex Sunny Leone

VANCOUVER DESI Bollywood’s serial kisser Emraan Hashmi has refused to share screen space with porn star-turned Bollywood-actress Sunny Leone, Indian tabloid Mid-Day reported. Hashmi, who…
Continue Reading »

Jackie Chan

First India-China joint venture film starring Jackie Chan launched

HINDUSTAN TIMES Chinese action star Jackie Chan will star in the first Sino-India joint film production slated to go on the floors in the coming…
Continue Reading »