[Report] April is Sikh Heritage Month in Canada
In Canada, the month of April is celebrated as Sikh Heritage Month. Throughout the month, events spotlighting the history of Sikhs will take place in different cities.
It all started in Ontario
Sikh Heritage Month in Canada was first recognized in the province of Ontario. Current NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, who was an MPP in the province of Ontario in 2013, moved to celebrate the month of April as Sikh Heritage Month. With the passing of this motion, Ontario became the first province in Canada to celebrate Sikh Heritage Month.
A bill was introduced in the House of Commons by Sukh Dhaliwal, an MP of Punjabi origin from Surrey, to observe the month of April as Sikh Heritage Month. It was passed in 2018, and on April 30, 2019, Sikh Heritage Month was proclaimed by Parliament.
An exhibition on Sikh history organized by the Royal BC Museum in Victoria was well attended by members of the community. It shared information about the Sikh religion, history, Gatka (Sikh martial arts) and more.
Prayers were held at the beginning of Sikh Heritage Month in the Manitoba Legislature. The Khalsa flag was raised at Brampton City Hall in honour of Sikh Heritage Month. Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown, council members and community members were present for the occasion.
Importance of the month of April in Sikh history
The month of April has special importance in Sikhism and Sikh history. On April 13, 1699, the tenth Guru Gobind Singh Ji founded the Khalsa Panth at Anandpur Sahib. This day is celebrated as the anniversary of the birth of Khalsa.
During Sikh Heritage Month, exhibitions on Sikh history will be featured at certain libraries in Brampton. Get more information here.
The mayor, council members and members of the Sikh community attended an event to kick off Sikh Heritage Month in Brampton. Image: Courtesy of Patrick Brown/TwitterDr. Sharanjit Kaur Sandhran will discuss Sikh history and the significance of Vaisakhi during a virtual event organized by the City of Surrey on April 26. Registration is free (new window).The UBC Sikh Students’ Association held a children’s story time event on April 9 at the Surrey City Centre Library. In Manitoba, April 13 is celebrated as Turban Day.Nagar Kirtans to be held in the month of AprilThe Khalsa parade to celebrate Vaisakhi in Surrey will be held on April 22 this year. With the COVID19 pandemic putting the parade on hold for the past three years, the Sikh community is eagerly awaiting year’s event.The parade will start from the Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar located on 85th Avenue in Surrey on April 22. As Gurdwara spokesperson Bhai Moninder Singh explained,
The Khalsa parade has an important place in the community. The Khalsa parade is starting again this year after COVID and there is a lot of excitement about it in the community.
Surrey resident Rajpal Singh says the parade will also serve to strengthen the community as immigrants get to know their new home.
The Ontario Sikh and Gurdwara Council is organizing a Nagar Kirtan in Toronto on April 30 to celebrate Vaisakhi and the creation of Khalsa Panth. The parade will set off from the CNE grounds and end at Nathan Phillips Square.
Note: this report is also available in Punjabi