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Pandemic forces changes to B.C. Vaisakhi celebrations for second consecutive year

Click to play video: 'Pandemic once again forces changes to B.C. Vaisakhi celebrations' Pandemic once again forces changes to B.C. Vaisakhi celebrations
WATCH: For the second year in a row, one of B.C.'s largest cultural events is looking a lot different - thanks to COVID. And while there won't be the massive crowds we're used to seeing at the Vaisakhi parades, there will be different types of celebrations. Catherine Urquhart explains – Apr 13, 2021

For the second year in a row, one of B.C.’s largest cultural events looked a lot different due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Surrey Vaisakhi Khalsa Day Parade, one of the largest events of its kind outside of India, was cancelled for the second year in a row due to the pandemic.

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Virtual Vaisakhi event sparks dialogue during Sikh Heritage Month BC – Apr 11, 2021

The parade, which was scheduled to take place on April 24, typically draws about 500,000 people to celebrate one of the most significant days in the Sikh calendar.

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In its place, many Vaisakhi events were either held remotely or in a socially-distanced way.

Read more: Annual Vaisakhi Parade in Surrey, B.C., cancelled for the 2nd year

In Surrey, delicacies were handed out at drive-through events at gurdwaras.

Vaisakhi marks the day in 1699 when the Khalsa was established and Sikhism took its current form.

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Communities typically celebrate by gathering at gurdwaras, or places of worship, for prayer and the reading of hymns, and there are often processions, parades, other activities and food.

Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar president Moninder Singh said adapting to the times involved a “bit of disappointment along with understanding as well.”

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Many within the community are reflecting on the ongoing farmer’s movement in India.

“It also goes really hand-in-hand with the purpose of this day and, in general, the establishment of the Khalsa, which was fighting against oppression, fighting for equality and human rights,” Singh said.

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Sikh community holds virtual Vaisakhi amid pandemic – Apr 18, 2020

 

While Vaisakhi is a time of reflection, it can also be a time to look forward.

“I would like to request everyone [to] get vaccinated fast so we will be celebrating normal life in 2022. That’s what I am looking forward to,” event volunteer Neeraj Walia said.

— With files from The Associated Press

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