Every year in April, thousands of Sikhs from across the Lower Mainland ascend upon Vancouver to celebrate Vaisakhi (or Baisakhi), a day that marks both the New Year and the anniversary of one of Sikhism’s most important events, the establishment of Khalsa in 1699.
There is also a parade going on in Surrey, but I don’t know too much about that one. For myself the original parade was and always will be the Vancouver one. Furthermore, this parade, like many others in Vancouver is not just for the Sikh Community and is more of a multicultural affair, this was evident when I walked down Main Street. One of the best aspects of the parade is the free food (samosas, sweets, pizza, subs etc…) along the entire parade route.
As usual politicians will be there courting the Sikh vote as well (see photo above), maybe Gordo will finally reveal plans for that India Gate in Vancouver’s Little India, or perhaps not as Little India has slowly migrated east to Fraser. Can blame the high rents on Main Street and the general population shift to Surrey.
This year the Vancouver Aquarium is also getting in on the act as it will be celebrating Vaisakhi April 10th and 11th:
As a harvest festival originating in India’s Punjab region, Vaisakhi pays homage to our planet and its ecosystems. Vaisakhi is always a brightly-coloured celebration so join us at the Aquarium where we invite you to immerse yourself in an array of colourful Vaisakhi festivities.
Bhangra Dance Performances – Daily from 3pm
Enjoy spectacular high energy, traditional, live Bhangra dance performances by the UBC Girlz. These performances are delightful, not to mention exciting and fun to watch.
Bhangra Dance Workshops – Daily from 3pm
If simply watching isn’t all you need then join one of our Bhangra dance workshops to learn some of the moves and the history of this famous dance.
Aquatic-Themed Henna Tattoos – Daily from 11am – 3pm
The Aquarium welcomes a professional Henna tattoo artist to our galleries providing aquatic-themed henna tattoos which are fun complement to our face-painting and crafting activities for kids. Maybe you can even get a henna tattoo of Hana, our beautiful Pacific white-sided dolphin!
Complimentary Punjabi Samosas – Daily from 11am – 3pm*
A Vaisakhi celebration is nothing without delicious, traditional food – you’re invited to enjoy the Aquarium’s complimentary offering of Punjabi Samosas. *While supplies last.
All in all it will be good times, rain or shine. Expect around a 80,000 to 100,000 people to attend. If you have the time head on over and check it out. Go for the free food and soak in the atmosphere of Little India. While you’re at it go and get a haircut for $10.
The parade begins at the Ross Temple (8000 Ross Street) in South Vancouver. See the map below for the entire parade route. This has to be one of the longest parade routes in the city clocking in at nearly 6 km! If you walk the entire route, you also get a pretty good workout.
Where: South Vancouver
When: Saturday April 10, 2010
Time: 10:30am to 4pm (expect the parade to reach 49th and Main around noon)
Map: 2010 Vancouver Vaisakhi Parade Route