SURREY — On Saturday (April 23), Vaisakhi, one of the most important events on the Sikh religious calendar, returns to the streets of Newton.
For more than a decade, Surrey’s Vaisakhi parade has been one of the world’s largest of its kind outside of India.
More than 200,000 people congregate on the streets to enjoy decorated floats, live music and free food and drink from local residents and businesses.
Attendees of all cultures are welcome at the Surrey Vaisakhi Parade, which begins at 9:30 a.m. at the Gurdwara Dashmesh Darbar Temple, located at 12885 85th Ave.
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 than 2,500 people representing close to 20 community groups will participate in Surrey’s big Vaisakhi parade, including the following:
• Sikh Motorcycle Club, established in 2002;
• A 60-member Sikh band that plays instruments from the Punjab;
• Canadian Armed Forces;
• Offerings of parshaad, a traditional Sikh dried sweet, from volunteers with Gurdwara Dasmesh Darbar;
• A crew from Channel Punjabi, host broadcaster;
• Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, a float carrying the Guru Granth Sahib scripture;
• Har Jus Kirtan, performing traditional hymns;
• Khalsa School of Newton, singing and dancing;
• Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara;
• Sikh Academy elementary school;
• Revolution Records (music);
• Guru Angad Dev Ji (G.A.D.) elementary school;
• 3HO yoga demonstration;
• Dasmesh Darbar float;
• Victoria Sikh School, performing traditional hymns and dance;
• Dasmesh Punjabi School of Abbotsford;
• Cloverdale Sikh Society;
• KidsPlay, promoting its youth sports initiatives;
• Mamta Foundation, promoting its efforts to raise funds for the construction of a new building site for abandoned and orphan girls in Jalandhar City, India.
For thousands of years, Vaisakhi was traditionally a harvest festival holiday, representing a time when farmers would take their sickles out to harvest and celebrate the coming new year.
The event now doubles as a holy day for the Sikh faith, as it marks the creation of the Khalsa and the Sikh identity.
The Khasla was created by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1669 when the country faced chaos, corruption and misery. It became a group of people within the community to challenge injustices and preserve the people’s faith in the Sikh religion. The Guru also gifted distinctive clothing and headwear to the Sikh people, known as Bana, or the Five Ks. They are Kesh (unshorn hair), Kangha (the wooden comb), Karra (the iron bracelet), Kirpan (the sword) and Kachera (the underwear).
For more details about events in Surrey, visit Surreyvaisakhiparade.ca.