An estimated 700,000 benefit from the sights, sounds and tastes of Surrey’s Vaisakhi parade


“It is surreal. It was all smiles immediately. Individuals who have been saved aside by COVID-19 skipped shaking handshakes and went proper to hugging.” — Moninder Singh

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Manrag Sara took within the sights and sounds of Surrey’s greatest pageant Saturday afternoon from the vantage level of his father’s lap.

The 11-year-old remains to be studying what it means to be a Sikh, mentioned his father, Lakhwinder Sara, who immigrated from India along with his household a decade in the past.

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“At present, for us, represents so many issues. Most of all — love,” Sara mentioned whereas trying down at his smiling son.

“I’m joyful right here,” mentioned Manrag, his enamel had been stained pink from the sugary floss of cotton sweet.

The Surrey duo sat on the sidewalk of 84th Avenue, surrounded by hundreds of others who walked the 128th Road route as a part of Canada’s largest Vaisakhi parade, in Newton.

An estimated 700,000 people took part in the Vaisakhi Parade in Surrey on Saturday, April 22, 2023.
An estimated 700,000 individuals took half within the Vaisakhi Parade in Surrey on Saturday, April 22, 2023. Photograph by Jason Payne /PNG

Vaisakhi marks the Punjabi new yr and harvest season, together with the beginning of the Sikh faith with the founding of Khalsa in 1699.

Most males, together with the Saras, wore head coverings on the annual pageant whereas ladies in attendance donned vivid and vibrant fits.

The festivities, which started round 9 a.m. at Gurdwara Dashmesh Darbar temple, noticed a piece of Newton streets cordoned off to accommodate an estimated 700,000 attendees.

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In a show of generosity, members had been supplied tea, Punjabi sweets and vegetarian dishes underneath tents stationed alongside the parade route by 2,500 volunteers from numerous neighborhood teams and companies.

For Mili Negi, who migrated to Coquitlam 5 years in the past, the celebration meant time to collect with associates in her “house away from house.”

Surrey, the 23-year-old mentioned, has at all times supplied her the acquainted tastes and sights of being again in India.

“It appears like we’re lastly all collectively once more, unified as one,” mentioned Negi. “Simply as in Sikhism, everyone seems to be welcome right here.”

An estimated 700,000 people took part in the Vaisakhi Parade in Surrey on Saturday, April 22, 2023.
An estimated 700,000 individuals took half within the Vaisakhi Parade in Surrey on Saturday, April 22, 2023. Photograph by Jason Payne /PNG

First-timer Antoinette Janosy mentioned she felt included when a bunch of girls behind her in a meals queue walked her via the expertise.

“I requested: ‘Is there something I’ve to say after I stand up there?’” the 75-year-old Richmond resident recalled. “The ladies had been so variety, they defined every thing to me.”

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Janosy and her good friend Janis Malcolm, a customer from Prince Edward Island, got kale paneer and roti Saturday. The pair ate the dish utilizing their palms, agreeing that it was each scrumptious, and “spicy.”

Spokesperson Moninder Singh mentioned after a three-year hiatus, the occasion drummed up extra crowds than he’s witnessed in his 15 years of organizing.

The Gurdwara Dashmesh Darbar temple started internet hosting the parade when it opened its doorways in 1998. Inside its first few years, it grew to 60,000 attendees. By 2019, it was attracting near 500,000 members yearly.

“It’s surreal,” mentioned Singh. “It was all smiles immediately. Individuals who have been saved aside by COVID-19 skipped shaking handshakes and went proper to hugging.”

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An estimated 700,000 people took part in the Vaisakhi Parade in Surrey on Saturday, April 22, 2023.
An estimated 700,000 individuals took half within the Vaisakhi Parade in Surrey on Saturday, April 22, 2023. Photograph by Jason Payne /PNG

Whereas some individuals who arrange cubicles alongside the parade route advocated sure political or non secular agendas, similar to imploring their fellow Sikhs to repent for his or her sins, the final environment of the parade was acceptance.

“The concept of respect and dignity is central to Sikhism,” mentioned Singh. “Folks know this isn’t a time and place to get into debates however to share within the pleasure of being collectively.”

The Vaisakhi celebration is ready to final your entire weekend, with rides and video games on the grounds of the gurdwara.

sgrochowski@postmedia.com


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