Vaisakhi celebrations kick off in Metro Vancouver this weekend

Vancouver’s Punjabi Market will be alive with colour, tastes, and sounds on Saturday, as Vaisakhi celebrations begin in the region.

The 45th Vancouver Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan event is expected to draw hundreds of thousands of people to South Vancouver, a week before another large Vaisakhi event.

The city says the event will “not only celebrate the spring harvest but also recognize 1699 — the year when Guru Gobind Singh created the order of the Khalsa.”

FILE - The Vancouver Vaisakhi parade
FILE – The Vancouver Vaisakhi parade. (CityNews Image)

The parade is set to take place from 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., with the following road closures in place from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.:

  • Main St closed from E 49th Ave to SE Marine Dr
  • Fraser St closed from E 41st Ave to SE Marine Dr
  • Westbound SE Marine Dr closed from Knight St to Main St
  • 57th Ave closed from Knight St to Ontario St

The Vancouver festival and parade comes a week before another major Vaisakhi event in the Lower Mainland.

The Vancouver 2024 Vaisakhi parade route.
The Vancouver 2024 Vaisakhi parade route. (Courtesy City of Surrey)

On Sunday, April 20, the Surrey Khalsa Day Vaisakhi Parade will take over parts of the city, with even bigger crowds anticipated.

“This is the largest Sikh gathering and Vaisakhi parade outside of India, so anywhere outside of India in the world,” said organizer Pary Dulai of the Surrey celebration.

Dulai says more than 600,000 people attended last year’s parade in Surrey.

a parade float is seen at the Surrey Vaisakhi celebration
Thousands of people gathered in Surrey on Saturday, April 22, 2023, to celebrate Vaisakhi. (Greg Bowman, CityNews Image)

Vaisakhi, he explains, holds a religious significance in the Sikh faith, saying, “this was the day Sikhs were baptized and the Sikh nation was organized.”

“As the years before, it’ll be a big community event. Everyone’s welcome to this event, they can come out and enjoy and learn about the Sikh faith and the Sikh culture around Vaisakhi and the Khalsa day,” Dulai said.

He says the event is also an opportunity to give back, explaining the Surrey Food Bank will be on site to gather up any leftover food at the end of festivities to help those in need.

“We encourage people to bring out food that day in the spirit of the event to help the needy,” Dulai added.

The Surrey parade and festival will also bring road closures. The parade will begin at the Gurdwara Dashmesh Darbar Temple at 12885 85th Avenue in Surrey.

The Surrey 2024 Vaisakhi parade route.
The Surrey 2024 Vaisakhi parade route. (Courtesy City of Surrey)

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