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

police-desi-shooting-gang wars

Vehicles flee after shots exchanged in Abbotsford

VANCOUVER DESI Police are investigating after a report of shots fired and vehicles fleeing the scene Thursday evening in Abbotsford. Around 7:30 p.m., Abbotsford police…
Continue Reading »

desi man charged with arson

Son-in-law charged with woman’s death in Richmond fire

GORDON MCINTYRE VANCOUVER DESI The son-in-law of a woman who died in a fire in her Richmond home on Monday has been charged with second-degree…
Continue Reading »

good samaritan

Edmonton car-crash victim searching for Good Samaritan who saved her life (with video)

KAREN HENDERSON EDMONTON JOURNAL EDMONTON – She never saw his face, or learned his last name. But she knows he helped save her life. It…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

police-desi-shooting-gang wars

Vehicles flee after shots exchanged in Abbotsford

VANCOUVER DESI Police are investigating after a report of shots fired and vehicles fleeing the scene Thursday evening in Abbotsford. Around 7:30 p.m., Abbotsford police…
Continue Reading »

desi man charged with arson

Son-in-law charged with woman’s death in Richmond fire

GORDON MCINTYRE VANCOUVER DESI The son-in-law of a woman who died in a fire in her Richmond home on Monday has been charged with second-degree…
Continue Reading »

good samaritan

Edmonton car-crash victim searching for Good Samaritan who saved her life (with video)

KAREN HENDERSON EDMONTON JOURNAL EDMONTON – She never saw his face, or learned his last name. But she knows he helped save her life. It…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

Indian recipes-Vancouver Desi

Taste India: Mix creamed spinach with crispy paneer

RANDY SHORE POSTMEDIA NEWS When I go looking for ways to use garden greens, I often turn to Indian cuisine. Saag paneer is creamed spinach…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver-Surrey

Sikh community celebrates a harvest of goodness in B.C

JAGDEESH MANN VANCOUVER DESI For Vancouver publisher, Harbinder Singh Sewak, the dream was four years in the making. This week, as millions of Sikhs around…
Continue Reading »

Narendra Modi welcomed in Toronto

Photos: Modi-mania hits Canada

VANCOUVER DESI Check out photos of Indian Prime Mininster Narendra Modi’s visit to Canada. RELATED STORIES: “Rock-star” Modi to get Bollywood-style welcome at Surrey Hindu…
Continue Reading »

Desi-shooting-Surrey

11 of 19 Surrey/Delta shootings between South Asian, Somalian groups

Even the wounded won’t help cops investigate drug dealers’ war KIM BOLAN POSTMEDIA NEWS METRO VANCOUVER — Two groups of young drug dealers who have…
Continue Reading »

Royal Wedding

Aga Khan’s eldest son Prince Rahim and his wife Kendra Salwa Spears announce birth of first child

VANCOUVER DESI The Aga Khan’s eldest son Prince Rahim and his wife Princess Salwa (Kendra Salwa Spears) announced the arrival of their first child Tuesday….
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

FRANCE-ENTERTAINMENT-CANNES-FILM-FESTIVAL

Bollywood divas Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor to dazzle Cannes 2015 (with photos)

IANS Mumbai – Actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who is gearing up for her comeback on the silver screen, will be scorching the red carpet of…
Continue Reading »

Sonam Kapoor

Gallery: Bollywood fashionista Sonam Kapoor’s “Indian elements” at Cannes

VANCOUVER DESI As Bollywood actress Sonam Kapoor, our very own desi fashionista who likes fusion fashion and has often chosen classy ensembles with “Indian elements”…
Continue Reading »

Aishwarya Rai

Gallery: Aishwarya Rai’s hot and not styles at Cannes

ALMAS MEHERALLY VANCOUVER DESI When the world’s brightest stars walk the red carpet at Cannes this May, movie fans will be watching closely. Former beauty…
Continue Reading »