Cecelia Road was packed with members and friends of Victoria’s Sikh community on Sunday, during a Khalsa Day community celebration not seen since 2019.
“It was a really important time for a lot of Sikh communities here in Victoria and all across the Island, because the community is so important for people,” said Manmeet Kaur Gill, a coordinating volunteer for the May 1 event. “It was a very special day for everyone.”
Khalsa Day is of both cultural and religious importance to the Sikh people. Culturally, Khalsa Day denotes the beginning of the harvest season. Religiously, it marks the Vaisakhi; the day in 1699 when the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, originated the Khalsa, or Sikh Nation.
A 12-person committee from the Sikh Gurdwara Singh Sabha at 470 Cecelia Rd. organized the Khalsa Day celebrations. Highlight events included religious lectures, as well as demonstrations of gatka – a Sikh martial art – which attracted teams from Vancouver, Gill said. Fourteen Sikh-led or employed vendors, from South Asian restaurants to credit unions to immigration services, accepted donations and dished out complimentary meals.
The City of Victoria sponsored several vendor tents and counted acting mayor Coun. Marianne Alto among the celebration’s visitors. Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes and Victoria MP Laurel Collins also stopped by.
“We’re so excited, in the coming years, to have a bigger event,” Gill said. The gurdwara is currently in conversation with the City of Victoria about holding a larger Khalsa Day parade, similar to those seen in Vancouver or Toronto.
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