The Golden Sikh community is hosting its first Nagar Kirtan, which is a Sikh custom involving the processional singing of holy hymns throughout a community.
The event is being held to commemorate the first Sikh Temple, erected on the unceded territory of the Secwepemc Nation in Golden.
Vaisakhi, also spelled Baisakhi, is one of the most important dates in the Sikh calendar, as it marks the beginning of the Sikh new year. The festival is celebrated on April 13 or 14, but can be celebrated any time around then. The dates also commemorate the year Sikhism was born as a collective faith in 1699.
The event will begin at the Golden Sikh Temple at 8 a.m. indoors with prayer, ending around 10:15 a.m. After prayers, the Gurdwara will acknowledge Chief Secwepemc Nation. Following the acknowledgments, dignitaries will speak, and president Amrik Khunkhun and vice president Navneet Rondeau will welcome the whole community to take part is the Nagar Kirtan procession.
The procession, or parade, is open to everyone in the community and will begin with the first floats by the Surrey Sikh Motorcycle Club, and will have the holy scriptures. The second float will be for the elderly and small children so they can participate in the parade.
During the parade, there will be Gatka youth performers of the Sikh martial arts. The martial artists are saint soldiers of Sikhism, who always stand up for the oppressed. This type of martial arts was created in the 1600s. A large congregation from Calgary will take part in the procession as well.
Everyone from the community is welcome to walk in the parade, and there will be food and beverages available along the route for everyone. The parade route will take everyone back to the temple for a free traditional vegetarian meal, which will mark the end of the Nagar Kirtan.
“For the Sikh Temple in Golden, it’s important that our community understands why we are holding this event, and what it means,” explained Raj Patara. “This event will be foreign to many in the community of Golden, and it’s important we help the community understand, as education is the core to understanding.”
The procession will depart from the Sikh Temple on 13th Street S., heading east to 10th Avenue S., where it will travel north, and turn left (west) onto Park Drive at the pedestrian lights, merging onto 9th Street S. From there, it will head south along 6th Avenue S., back to the temple.