Thousands Honour Sikhs' Holiest Day

April 9, 2007

Author: Kim Bolan

Source: The Vancouver Sun

SURREY -- Tens of thousands of Sikhs packed the streets of Surrey on Saturday for the eighth annual Vaisakhi parade honouring the religion's holiest day.

Police estimate the celebration brought out close to 100,000.

The parade closed off streets in Newton for hours as a caravan of floats and marchers weaved past throngs of people who lined the streets, handing out Indian delicacies and treats to all who passed.

Vaisakhi marks the day in 1699 when the last guru of Sikhism -- Gobind Singh -- baptized the first disciples into the Khalsa order and introduced symbols of the faith like unshorn hair, a kirpan, or ceremonial dagger and a steel bracelet.

Surrey's Dasmesh Darbar Sikh temple hosted the festivities, which have grown steadily over the years, as has the Indo-Canadian population in Surrey.