Happy Vaisakhi to all celebrating! Every April, millions of Sikhs world-wide celebrate Vaisakhi Day, a day that marks the New Year. Considered one of the most important festivals in the Sikh calendar, parades celebrating the event are held in Sikh communities around the world. The largest Vaisakhi Parade in the world occurs in Surrey, where approximately 500,000 people attend the annual Surrey Khalsa Day Vaisakhi Parade.
This year sees the return of Surrey and Vancouver’s Vaisakhi Khalsa Day Parade after pandemic. Vancouver’s Nagar Kirtan will be on April 15 and will follow the traditional route. Surrey’s Nagar Kirtan, considered to be one of the largest of its kind in the world outside of Punjab, will be organized on Saturday, April 22.
Event organizers, Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar expect the triumphant return of the parade will draw in excess of 500,000 guests from around the world to gather along the route. The parade itself features a colourful and entertaining procession of over 2500 participants representing many community organizations. Hundreds of booths along the route, sponsored by local businesses and families give away free food and treats to onlookers.
“After having to cancel the parade and the other weekend celebrations for the past three years, we know that the community locally in BC as well as guests who travel from as far away as across the US, Europe and Australia will be thrilled to hear that the 2023 Surrey Khalsa Day Vaisakhi Parade is definitely back on,” said Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar President Gurdeep Singh Samra.
“We are expecting significant crowds to gather to celebrate this important event in the Sikh calendar, and we look forward to welcoming people of all ages and ethnicities to celebrate along with us at this free, family-friendly event.”
The Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar, along with a number of supporting agencies including Fraser Health, the Surrey RCMP, the City of Surrey (including City of Surrey Bylaws office) are reminding businesses and individuals participating in the Parade-route kiosks and stands to observe safe practices. All of these practices and other detailed information, including the parade route map, can be found outlined in detail on the parade website at: SurreyVaisakhiParade.ca
The parade will begin at approximately 9:30 AM at Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar Temple, located at 12885-85 Avenue, and will conclude there at approximately 4:00 PM. To facilitate parade activities, area residents and businesses should be advised there will be road closures, traffic disruptions, restricted access and temporary Parking Restrictions.
Traffic controls will be in place beginning at 7:30 AM until approximately 5:00 PM, or until the RCMP deem the route is safe to be opened to vehicular traffic. Access to 128th Street and road sections along the parade route will be impacted most significantly. Increased delays may be expected for travel through and within the area between 72nd Avenue to 88th Avenue, and Scott Road to King George Highway.
Please plan your routes accordingly.
Parking is extremely limited near the parade route, and attendees are encouraged to travel to the event via transit.
For many thousands of years, Vaisakhi has been the time when farmers have put their sickles to harvest and celebrated the coming of a new year. Since 1699, the Sikhs have had a further reason to celebrate at this time of the year. Now Vaisakhi is celebrated with even more energy, pomp and fanfare.
It has become a holy day to mark the birth of the Khalsa fraternity. And so 300+ years on, this tradition continues with much gaiety, vigour and enthusiasm. Sikhs worldwide will spend much time remembering this most important day in their religious calendar – the day the Khalsa was created.
The Surrey Vaisakhi Parade has been held in the streets of the community for the past 17 years. Attendees of all races and cultures are welcome at this celebratory and rich cultural event, which features a large number of floats, community performers and live music. Surrey’s Vaisakhi Parade also features a unique element which pays tribute to the harvest celebration roots of the parade – attendees are given free food and drink from hundreds of local residents and businesses.