Canada has a thriving Sikh population, and the Sikh community comes to life on 13th April for Baisakhi celebrations in Canada. Baisakhi celebrations are important to the Sikh community for a number of reasons. Apart from celebrating the winter harvest, Baisakhi also welcomes in the Sikh New Year, and marks the anniversary of the Khalsa establishment, which dates back to the latter half of the 16th Century.
The province of British Columbia in Canada is home to Surrey, a city rich with Sikh culture and people. One of the greatest contributors to Baisakhi celebrations in Canada, and Surrey in particular, is the Gurdwara Sahib DasmeshDarbar Temple. The Gurdwara is the chief organizer of the Surrey Vaisakhi parade, which is said to be the largest Baisakhi celebrations in Canada, and outside of India as well. The Gurdwara has been organizing the parade for a period of almost 2 decades.
Surrey's Sikh community opens its doors to people from all walks of life for being a part of the parade, and this warm and friendly attitude has made Baisakhi celebrations in Canada a global phenomenon. April 2015 saw the biggest turnout for the parade till date, with an estimated 250,000 participants. Baisakhi celebrations in Canada are best enjoyed in Surrey, with an array of entertaining performances lasting the entire day. In 2015, the celebrations consisted of 19 floats that represented various community groups, humanitarian bodies, along with local Sikh schools. The standout float was the one which carried the Guru Granth Sahib, the Holy Scripture of the Sikhs.
The entire parade is organized thanks to willing volunteers within the Sikh community and people outside the communities as well. Absolutely anyone is free to join in and help with proceedings, thus emphasizing the importance of equality and community-based living that is typically found in the Sikh Culture. Though there are certain public inconveniences such as traffic disruptions, parking restrictions, and road closures, the people of Surrey are extremely warm and receptive towards the Baisakhi celebrations. More and more crowds are expected in the coming years.