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)

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

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)

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)

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)

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

The Bella Coola RCMP are investigating the cause of the fire (Caitlin Thompson photo)
RCMP investigating Bay Motor Hotel fire

Anyone with information is asked to call Bella Coola RCMP 250 799 5363 or Crimestoppers

Phillip Tallio was just 17 when he was convicted of murder in 1983 (file photo)
Miscarriage of justice before Phillip Tallio’s 1983 guilty plea in girl’s murder: lawyer

Tallio was 17 when he pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the death of his 22-month-old cousin

A third-party crew cut the Telus fiber line on Tuesday, Nov. 17, resulting in a nearly 24hr communications blackout for the Valley (Black Press Media)
Recent outage highlights vulnerabilites in local communication infrastructure

A third-party crew accidentally severed the cable on Highway 20, resulting in a valley-wide communications outage

The Bay Hotel burned to the ground last night (Christina Hoppe photo)
Bay Hotel burns to the ground in early morning fire

The building was abandoned and had been falling apart for years

FILE – British Columbia provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry wears a face mask as she views the Murals of Gratitude exhibition in Vancouver, on Friday, July 3, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Masks now mandatory in all public indoor and retail spaces in B.C.

Many retailers and businesses had voiced their frustration with a lack of mask mandate before

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)
B.C. Liberal leadership contest will wait for election post-mortem

Interim leader set to face NDP on payments for COVID-19

Product Care offers more than <a href="http://link.mediaoutreach.meltwater.com/ls/click?upn=pDYyTceU0YgTDdsd92GohdQJsmSiPFEkcB4MdMM0Qkoqb1aJA-2By5aWklKJXV6QRdyTteNjr2FccUOVLUe4t5Zw-3D-3D1ds-_KVyBcpjXADXifSWVpM8nQcAzSm9-2B6fEFnjVrTsOcu31irDHDxi5k0QTOIWCqMXUxaNbrf0yRzXSSpROCkfx3NkUtbr65Dkcw1J0by-2F-2BDdDiJGbcfhtjHWYSs66NwakeCCLYkj20e9ICIZsLcedqNZKBhsN0sGgBsInpdzsddYikUZkmQvFdxLJhakpgAA6aAJ5ScUoWR6vO9sM819vRB-2F6x7dsdfIaWa4ZgHxR4G7hauxgSJCsNI2bP5J62EFfM0aiDqRPwUPUjt7i5-2FMqpdJxrEBewnLky-2B3lE0JAmi5UsJBkJejuLOjsndZz4b7dNgbvt6KyewKuF0sxU2rpYgkAO9YAKc9STuFJd28Qn7jE0-2FqlB8HKOvpW150NHS-2BOMBcK5rkZ8YAuPqJy11k-2BgndiKB-2FWl2icAfbWtRGJPb8fM-3D" target="_blank">150 free drop-off locations</a> in B.C. (Pixabay.com)
Recycling broken or burnt string lights can reduce holiday landfill waste

In 2019, Product Care Recycling diverted more than 11.6 million light bulbs from landfills

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Helen Watson, posing for a photo for her 100th birthday, turned 105 on Saturday (Nov. 21). (File photo)
B.C. woman who survived Spanish Flu turns 105

Helen Watson has packed a lot into life – including being in two pandemics

(Black Press Media files)
B.C. to test emergency alert system on cell phones, TVs, radios on Wednesday

The alert is part of a twice yearly test of the national Alert Ready system

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Most Read