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April is a very important month for the South Asian community in general and Sikhs in particular. For them, it is a festive and holy celebration. In India, it is the beginning of the harvesting season. Before starting the season, people celebrate in various ways. According to the Punjabi calendar, the harvesting season begins in the month of Vaisakhi. As such, the festival is named Vaisakhi. For the Sikhs, Vaisakhi marks the birth of the Khalsa (the Pure One). Throughout the month of April, Vaisakhi and the birth of the Khalsa is being celebrated around the globe.
After spending two months visiting India, it was great for me to return to Richmond just in time to take part in this festivity. In this context, it was a treat for me to attend the Vaisakhi celebration at East Richmond Community Hall on Saturday, April 5. It was a joint effort by East Richmond Community Association, South Arm Community Association and Richmond Multicultural Community Services. Linda Simpson (ERCA), Stella Au (SACA) and Kamal Sandhu (RMCS) and a number of volunteers did an excellent job in putting this event on. More than one hundred persons of diverse backgrounds, mainly senior citizens, enjoyed the entertainment, refreshments and each other’s company.
Two major Nagar Kirtans in Vancouver (Saturday, April 12) and Surrey (April 19) are taking place this month, bringing together thousands of people to celebrate Vaisakhi and birth of the Khalsa. Here in Richmond too, Vaisakhi will be celebrated by various community and religious organizations including India Cultural Centre’s Gurdwara Nanak Niwas. Celebrations like these go a long way in creating more awareness about different cultures and religions. This is what makes Canada and cities like Richmond so unique.
Happy Vaisakhi !