The Vaisakhi celebration at the B.C. legislature included speeches and a live performance of traditional Sikh music. (Keri Coles/News staff)

B.C. legislature celebrates Sikh holiday for first time

Vaisakhi is one of the holiest holidays in the Sikh faith

Celebrations are ramping up in Victoria for the Sikh community in the lead up to one of the holiest holidays in the Sikh faith – Vaisakhi.

Vaisakhi recognizes the day on which the tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh, created the order of the Khalsa in 1699, the collective of committed Sikhs – both men and women – who are the leaders and defenders of the Sikh way.

Despite celebrating Vaisakhi annually in Canada for many years in the traditional form of street parades, the holiday was celebrated in Victoria for the first time since 1912 last year.

Marking another first, Premier John Horgan and members of the Victoria Sikh community celebrated Vaisakhi at the B.C. legislature for the first time Wednesday.

RELATED: Victoria celebrates Khalsa Day with parade, festivities

“Our lives have been enriched in British Columbia by the contributions of Sikhs for well over 100 years,” said Premier John Horgan. “It is certainly appropriate that we celebrate the beginning of Vaisakhi – the celebration of Sikh faith that represents tolerance, social justice, inclusion, always always focusing on human rights and dignity for the individual and the collective benefit for all.

“We have to ensure that we protect, preserve, enhance and promote the diversity that makes up our great province.”

Consul General of India Smt. Abhilasha Joshi was in attendance for the celebration that included speeches and a live performance of traditional Sikh music.

The event comes on the heels of Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps presenting the Sikh Heritage Day Proclamation at City Hall Tuesday, declaring April 14 as Sikh Heritage Day in Victoria.

“In the years to come as we have this celebration over and over, it is marking the importance of having Victoria a place that is welcoming, as a place that is diverse,” said Helps. “It is really important that we celebrate here with you today. You have, as a community, stepped forward time after time after time with generosity and with kindness to support so many people in our community.”

The event included a small reception at city hall which featured a Sikh heritage display showcasing the history of Sikhs in Victoria. The first Sikh temple opened in Victoria in 1912.

Near the end of the month on April 28 the Khalsa Day Parade, organized by Gurdwara Singh Sabha, the Sikh Temple on Cecelia Road, will bring colour and life through the streets of Victoria with hymn singing, martial-arts displays and langar, as well as the distribution of food from the free kitchen.


 

keri.coles@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

The Vaisakhi celebration at the B.C. legislature included speeches and a live performance of traditional Sikh music. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Premier John Horgan and members of the Victoria Sikh community celebrated Vaisakhi for the first time at the B.C. legislature Wednesday. (Keri Coles/News staff)

MLAs Garry Begg and Nicholas Simons try out turbans during the Vaisakhi celebration at the B.C. legislature Wednesday. (Keri Coles/News staff)

Just Posted

Williams Lake Studio Theatre prepares a thoughtful drama with Cherry Docs

The drama takes a stark and at times harsh look at bigotry and prejudice

Petition calls for single-use plastics ban in Williams Lake

“It’s absolutely disgusting and we don’t need it”

Williams Lake’s Yellow Vest protest going strong

Every Saturday since December, lakecity citizens have gathered on Oliver Street

Marin Patenaude performed in Williams Lake last weekend

The Arts on the Fly organizer shared songs of love and loss at the Central Cariboo Arts Centre

‘No answers:’ Canadians react to Sri Lanka bombings that killed hundreds

The co-ordinated bomb attacks killed at least 207 people and injured 450 more on Easter Sunday

B.C. fire department rescues kittens

Enderby homeowner not aware kittens in wood pile near garbage pile fire that got out of hand

QUIZ: How much do you know about Easter?

Take this short quiz and put your knowledge to the test

B.C. VIEWS: NDP’s lawyer show is turning into a horror movie

Court actions pile up over pipelines, car insurance, care aides

Global Affairs warns Canadians in Sri Lanka there could be more attacks

A series of bomb blasts killed at least 207 people and injured hundreds more

Waste not: Kootenay brewery leftovers feed the local food chain

Spent grains from the Trail Beer Refinery are donated to local farmers and growers, none go to waste

Deck collapses in Langley during celebration, 35 people injured

Emergency responders rushed to the Langley home

B.C. mom wages battle to get back four kids taken from her in Egypt

Sara Lessing of Mission has help from Abbotsford law firm

Most Read