Vaisakhi 2017: Parade, mela, and events in US, Canada and UK: Time and Schedule of Punjabi festival of harvest for non-resident Indian

Vandana.Srivastawa

Vaisakhi or Baisakhi is the Sikh harvest festival that is celebrated ever year on April 13 or April 14. This year it falls on April 13, 2017. Baisakhi is one of the most important festivals in Sikhism and it commemorates the date when Guru Gobind Singh, the last and tenth Guru of Sikhs abolished the Guru lineage and picked the panj pyare and started the Khalsa panth of warriors. Vaisakhi is a spring harvest festival and corresponds to the harvesting of the rabi crop in the Punjab region. Baisakhi observes major events of significance in the Sikh religion. When Guru Tegh Bahadur was executed on the orders of Aurangzeb upon his refusal to convert to Islam, his son and the last Guru, Guru Gobind Singh formed the Sant-Sipahi group of Khalsa on this day. The five Khalsa were bestowed the responsibility of defending religious freedom and spiritual guidance. Guru Gobind Singh proclaimed that Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs will be considered for eternal guidance and no Guru will be in place ever again.

On Vaisakhi, Sikhs visit Gurdwaras to offer prayers and socialize with their dear ones and exchange sweets and festive foods. Langars or community eating is organized and procession known as nagar kirtans are held around town. Nagar Kirtans (town hymn singing) are led by panj pyare or five chosen Khalsa during Vaisakhi. People join these processions as they roam around the town singing hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib. Sikhism today has spread to all the corners of the world and Sikhs are some of the most helpful and passionate people in any community. Canada, US, Britain all has substantial population of Sikhs who now hold important positions in the Government as well as in society. Baisakhi 2017: Importance, Significance and all you need to know about the Punjabi harvest festival Vaisakhi!

Sadiq Khan the London Mayor attended a Vaisakhi parade in the city’s Southhall neighbourhood. He became the first mayor of the British capital to participate in the event. The Vaisakhi parade is among the largest open-air celebrations of any festival in Europe. He later tweeted, “Londoners don’t just tolerate our diversity, we celebrate it! Brilliant to be back in Southall alongside thousands at #Vaisakhi celebrations.” Sadiq Khan was joined by fellow Labour MPs Seema Malhotra and Virender Sharma at the Vaiskahi celebrations at the Sri Guru Singh Sabha.

List of Parades or Processions and celebrations around the world on the occasion of Vaisakhi:

1.Vancouver, Canada

Vancouver Vaisakhi Parade in partnership with RBC Bank will take place on April 15, 2017 from 10.30 am to 4.00 pm. It starts at Ross Street Temple – 8000 Ross Street, Vancouver.

2.Ontario, Canada

Vaisakhi Celebrations will be held at London Sikh Society Gurudwara, 37 Clarke Road London, Ontario, Canada at 8:00 EDT on April 16, 2017.

3.California, USA

San Jose Gurudwara in California USA will hold Vaisakhi celebrations from April 13-16, 2017. On April 16, 2017 from 11:00- 14:00 PDT the celebrations and procession will take place. The address is San Jose Gurudwara 3636 Murillo Ave, San Jose, California 95148, USA.

4.Regent Terrace, United Kingdom

Gateshead Visible Ethnic Minorities Support Group (GVEMSG) and GemArts have organized another fantastic party to mark Vaisakhi. It will be held on April 22, 2017 at 19:00–23:00 UTC+01 at Gateshead Civic Centre, Regent Street, NE8 1HH Gateshead, United Kingdom.

5.Calgary, Alberta, Canada

6th Vaisakhi Mela 2017 is being held at Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This year the celebrations are focused on Vaisakhi Mela along with celebrations of Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji’s 350th Birth Jayanti and Canada’s 150th Birthday Celebrations. The venue is Feature Gymnasium – Genesis Centre Community Wellness Centre, 7556 Falcon ridge Boulevard NE, Calgary . The event is held on Saturday April 15th, 2017 from 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM.
Sukh Singh Dhaliwal, a Member of Parliament from Newton-Surrey Canada gave a stirring Vaisakhi speech in the Canadian Parliament that resonated with applause.

Vaisakhi celebrations were already held at Parliament Hill, Canada on April 10, 2017.

Vaisakhi holds a great significance in Sikhism as well as to the developments that happened in India during the 15th century and hence it is one of the most important festival.