Printer Friendly

Celebrating the values of Sikhism.

Every Spring, after the cherry blossoms appear in Great Vancouver, Sikhs in British Columbia gear up to celebrate Vaisakhi--one of the most important days in the Sikh calendar - the creation of the Khalsa.

This year, as dozens of events and parades are planned at gurdwaras or Sikhism places of worship around the province over the next few weeks, there is a new addition to mark Vaisakhi in B.C.

The B.C. Government has declared April 13, 2019 as "The Jallianwala Bagh Massacre Day" to mark one of the darkest days in India that occurred 100 years ago.

On April 13, 1919, troops from the British army in India, which was under UK rule, fired on a group of unarmed Punjabi civilians in Jallianwala Bagh public garden. The crowds were gathered to protest the British government's forced conscription of Indians to join the armed forces and also the war tax which threatened to cripple the Indian economy. The holy city of Amritsar was placed under martial law and the direct rule of Brigadier General Reginald Dyer to quash demonstrations. Thousands of Sikhs gathered in Amritsar on April 13 for the religion's annual Baisakhi festival, with many of these crowding in Jallianwala Bagh, unaware of Dyer's ban on public events. Without warning, Dyer commanded his troops top surround the group and open fire, killing 379 and injuring thousands.

The proclamation urged British Columbians to reflect on the event and recognize the contribution of Indian Canadians over the past 100 years.

April is also Sikh Heritage Month in British Columbia.

"British Columbia is privileged to be home to one of the largest Sikh populations outside of India. Our government is proud to dedicate this month in acknowledgement of the many significant ways the Sikh community has strengthened and enriched our province since first arriving more than 100 years ago," said Lisa Beare, Minister of Tourism, Arts and Culture, and Ravi Kahlon, Parliamentary Secretary for Sport and Multiculturalism.

"April marks the celebration of Vaisakhi, when Punjabis celebrate the harvest and the start of a new agricultural year, and when Sikhs commemorate the founding of the Khalsa --which accentuates the values of equality, selfless service and social justice--by Guru Gobind Singh Ji in 1699. Vaisakhi is the holiest celebration in the Sikh faith that is widely celebrated in communities throughout the world, including B.C. Taking part in this celebration is an excellent way to promote inclusivity, embrace multiculturalism and increase understanding of B.C.'s diverse cultural traditions and perspectives.

"We hope everyone in British Columbia will join us in honouring Sikh Heritage month, and will take time to reflect how our province has been made better by the valuable contributions of the Sikh community," they said.

Vaisakhi pays tribute to the harvest and commemorates one of the most important days in the Sikh calendar - the creation of the Khalsa.

The Khalsa, was founded in 1699 as a Sikh brotherhood and sisterhood to fight adversity and continues to be at the heart of Sikhism. From here the Sikh nation grew with a renewed identity and as a collective faith underlined by the principles of sewa or sacrifice for their fellow human beings.

As in previous years, two mammoth parades --one in Surrey and the other in Vancouver are the highlights of the Vaisakhi season.

Vancouver's Khalsa Day Parade this year is on Saturday, April 13th. It takes place from about 10 am to 4 pm or so, starting at the Ross Street Temple at 8000 Ross Street just off Marine Drive in South Vancouver.

The event in Surrey will be held on April 20, which is also the Easter weekend for Christians.

The Surrey parade or Nagar Kirtan--considered the largest of its kind outside India--is expected to attract about 500,000 people.

There will be a number of road closures in place near Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar (12885 85th Ave.), where the parade begins at around 9 a.m. and concludes there in the evening.

Also in Surrey this month, Sikhi Awareness Foundation, or SAF, will host a Vaisakhi Fest on Sunday, April 14 at Central City Plaza (13450 102nd Ave.), from noon to 5 p.m.

"Vasaikhi is all about the celebrating the values of Sikhism... about the service to humanity and the spirit of equality and compassion," said Harbinder Singh Sewak, who founded Canada's first military cadet corps supported by the Sikh community, that is based in Surrey.

By Mata Press Service

Caption: A Sikh woman reflects at the Golden Temple in the Holy city of Amritsar.

Please Note: Illustration(s) are not available due to copyright restrictions.
COPYRIGHT 2019 Asian Pacific Post
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2019 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Special Feature
Publication:The Filipino Post
Geographic Code:1CBRI
Date:Apr 11, 2019
Previous Article:EDITORIAL: Big government invites big scandals.
Next Article:Some key dates in a century of Sikhism in B.C.

Terms of use | Privacy policy | Copyright © 2020 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters