Golden Gurdwara’s inaugural Nagar Kirtan brought around 3,500 Sikhs to the community from across North America this weekend.
The Sikh custom of processional singing of hymns throughout the community began with prayers in the morning, and a parade around the Town of Golden shortly before noon. The Sikh Motorcycle Club lead the parade behind the RCMP and the Golden Fire Department.
The sound of drums and singing could be heard all across town as the brightly coloured procession made its way from the Golden Temple. Onlookers were invited to walk with the Sikhs in the parade as they sang, danced, and performed martial arts.
“It really grew in size in the last three to four days. We’re really happy with the turnout,” explained local Baljit Rana.
After prayers in the morning, the Sikhs acknowledged the Secwepemc Nation, and continued with speeches from dignitaries, and welcoming notes from Golden Temple president Amrik Khunkhun and vice president Navneet Rondeau.
Among the Sikhs participating, the Town of Golden Mayor Ron Oszust and Area A electoral director Karen Cathcart walked along with the procession. The Golden Interact Club also carried their sign high in the air in participation.
“It really is spectacular. Just incredible,” exclaimed Oszust about the number of participants in the event.
Oszust and Cathcart walked the entire route with the Sikhs and donned organge scarves to cover their heads.
The parade came to an end at the Golden Temple, where everyone was invited to enjoy lunch in the company of Sikhs from Golden and those who travelled from B.C., Alberta, and beyond.
The Golden Gurdwara was recognized as the first in B.C., and likely the first in North America in June of last year, although the original location is no longer standing.
The history dates back to 1902, and the largest influx of men came from South Asia around 1905, which would be the time the first temple constructed in Golden would have begun service. The original temple sat on the corner of a lot, in the same end of town.
The Gurdwara is included in the B.C. Register of Historic Places, and has been put forward for inclusion on the Canadian Register of Historic Places.