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

india flag2

Sporting fans disappointed as Indian flag depicted upside down in Commonwealth Games promotional video

VANCOUVER DESI India is already making headlines as the Commonwealth Games officially kick off in Glasgow – but not for sporting-related reasons. In an official…
Continue Reading »

CABS1

Heaving, hurling taxi patrons will now be charged a $75 cleanup fine

THE CANADIAN PRESS If you’re feeling queasy, step away from the cab. That’s the advice from taxi drivers across British Columbia after the province’s Passenger…
Continue Reading »

INDIA_RAPE_PROTEST_217126232

Angry villagers mob alleged suspects after another girl found hanging from tree in India

KOUSHIK DUTTA HINDUSTAN TIMES A 7-year-old girl was found raped, murdered and hanging from a tree in West Bengal on Thursday, resurfacing horrific memories from…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

CABS1

Heaving, hurling taxi patrons will now be charged a $75 cleanup fine

THE CANADIAN PRESS If you’re feeling queasy, step away from the cab. That’s the advice from taxi drivers across British Columbia after the province’s Passenger…
Continue Reading »

Homicide investigators are on scene at a stabbing in Surrey.

Homicide investigators on scene of stabbing in Surrey

VANCOUVER DESI A man is dead following an early morning stabbing in Surrey. Surrey RCMP were called to the 10600-block 135A Street in Whalley shortly…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver restaurateur Vikram Vij poses with Barinder Rasode at his new South Surrey restaurant My Shanti at an event Thursday night. Submitted photo.

Will Vikram Vij’s ‘support’ be enough to push Barinder Rasode into Surrey mayoralty ring?

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Still yet to officially announce a bid for mayor this fall, Surrey city councillor Barinder Rasode had an endorsement party of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

child abuse

Indian kidnappers agree to handover boy to parents on condition of swapping him for his sister

CEN AGENCY In a bizarre demand, parents of an Indian boy who has been kidnapped, were told that they could have youngster back if they…
Continue Reading »

232-teeth tumour gum

Indian teen boy gets 232 teeth removed from “very rare” tumour in his jaw

VANCOUVER DESI A 17-year-old boy in India underwent a seven-hour long operation on Monday to have a whopping 232 teeth removed from a “very rare”…
Continue Reading »

basketball

Indian minister criticizes ‘no-headgear’ rule after Sikh basketball players told to remove turbans during Asia Cup

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW DELHI — India’s sports minister has criticized the ‘no-headgear’ rule of basketball’s world body FIBA after two Sikh players on the…
Continue Reading »

Greece

Tipsy British tourist asked to leave church after mistaking it for a disco

CEN AGENCY A tipsy British tourist had to be asked to leave a church in Crete where he started dancing after local kids told him…
Continue Reading »

Surrey-weight lifter-Commonwealth Games-Glasgow

Surrey weightlifter Parm Phangura bound for Commonwealth Games

MICHAEL BOOTH SURREY NOW FLEETWOOD — 163+205=368. That stark equation scrawled in the top corner of a chalkboard means little to a casual observer, but…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra fought with professional boxers while shooting Mary Kom

IANS Mumbai  – Actress Priyanka Chopra fought with real boxers in Mary Kom, a biopic on the five time World Champion boxer. She says it…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Akshay Kumar to host dance reality show Dare 2 Dance

IANS Gurgaon  – Bollywood action hero Akshay Kumar, who has played host of TV adventure reality series Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi in the past,…
Continue Reading »

INDIA-ARTS-CINEMA-BOLLYWOOD

What stunt scared Jacqueline Fernandez the most while filming Kick?

IANS Mumbai — Superstar Salman Khan has done a lot of action and stunts in Kick and the film’s leading lady Jacqueline Fernandez says that…
Continue Reading »