MLAs Garry Begg and Nicholas Simons try out turbans during the Vaisakhi celebration at the B.C. legislature Wednesday. (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.

 

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)

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

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

Just Posted

Trudeau announces $79M investment for 118 more public transit buses across B.C.

Contributions from municipal to federal level to fund more buses in a bid to cut commutes

Sun on its way after Greater Victoria sees wettest July in six years

Environment Canada meteorologists say the drizzle is likely to end soon

After Victoria dad’s death, Technical Safety BC wants changes to trampoline park rules

Jay Greenwood, 46, did ‘a series of acrobatic manoeuvres prior to a fall that caused serious injury and cardiac arrest’

Join Oak Bay’s heritage walk and scavenger hunt this Saturday

Hunt seeks significant examples of historical architecture in Oak Bay

VIDEO: 1,400 classic cars roll into Victoria for Deuce Days

The four-day festival highlights classic hot rods, with a special emphasis on cars built in 1932

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

“Does Kirby care?” B.C. First Nation’s group using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

B.C. woman wins record $2.1 million on casino slot machine

‘That night was so surreal … I wasn’t able to sleep or eat for the first two days,’ she said

LETTER: Refining bitmen not a good idea

One of the arguments against increasing the capacity of the Trans Mountain… Continue reading

LETTER: Welcome to Nevergreen Mall

Re: Work starts on mall expansion (News, July 17) Welcome to Nevergreen… Continue reading

$900M settlement reached in class action on sexual misconduct in Canadian military

After facing criticism, the government moved to begin settlement proceedings in early 2018

Tax take stays ahead of increased B.C. government spending

Tax revenue $2.1 billion higher than budget in 2018-19

Most Read