What Vaisakhi Means To Me?

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By Mya Kaur Kooner

Happy Vaisakhi everyone! Vaisakhi is the time of year when Sikhs all around the world come together to celebrate the creation of their religion.

On April 13th, 1699: Guru Gobind Singh Ji created the Khalsa. He saw the inequality in how people were being treated. He gathered people together to start a new chapter where everyone was to be treated equally. Sikhs became known as those who defend the weak and innocent, if need be; they became warriors. They help those in need and give back to the community.

Vaisakhi parades which for Sikhs are known as ‘Nagar Kirtan’ have been organized in Vancouver since 1979. This year Vancouver’s Vaisakhi celebrations were held on Saturday, April 13th, and everyone (not just Sikhs) was welcome to enjoy the festivities. The Nagar Kirtan began at Ross Street Gurdwara and made it way to the Punjabi Market along Main Street.

The main float in the parade carries the Sikh holy book called the Guru Granth Sahib Ji. During this family-friendly event, you can expect to see dancers, vibrant floats and along the way, free mouthwatering snacks. Sikhs welcome the public with a variety of food booths and tents where traditional Indian/Punjabi vegetarian foods and much more are distributed as their seva (volunteer service). Every family always has their way of celebrating Vaisakhi.

Since I was a little girl, my family has always taken me to the Gurdwara (temple) on Vaisakhi. On top of that, walking with the Nagar Kirtan always filled me with happiness. For me, it brings great joy to see everyone come together to celebrate. It also has brought me closer to my culture in such a cheerful way. I can even say the same for all my friends and family, Vaisakhi is a time of year we all look forward to.

I am grateful that my local community is involved in sharing Sikh/Punjabi culture. Seeing non – Sikh/Punjabi people enjoying aspects of our culture makes me especially thankful on Vaisakhi for having this amazing religion to share with the world.

(Mya Kaur Kooner is the Grade 9 student of David Thompson Secondary School)