By Remitbee - Mar 16, 2022
Back then, Vaisakhi parades were both cancelled in 2020 and 2021 consecutively due to the pandemic. As Vancouver's parade may go through this year, Surrey's, set for April 23rd, has been cancelled for the third year in a row. Singh said it was a hard choice to make, but one that had to be made for the sake of the community's protection.
Planners of Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar (the Sikh Gurdwara behind the parade) declared on March 7th that the parade would not take place as planned on April 23rd, 2022. They blame it on a lack of clarity in public health guidelines.
The postponement of the April 23rd Khalsa Day event is being blamed on a lack of planning time, as well as "sporadic and last-minute revisions to the public health regulations."
Vaisakhi, the birth of Khalsa, is celebrated by millions of Sikhs worldwide every April. The day is traditionally marked in the Lower Mainland with two parades, one a week apart, full of enthusiasm, grandeur, feast, and a surge of orange.
Surrey's Vaisakhi march has been touted as the biggest of its type outside of India, with crowds ranging from 300,000 to half a million. The festival attracts 300,000 people, marking it the city's largest single-day event.
Every spring, the city's day-long festival is the world's largest Khalsa Day (Vaisakhi) Parade, attracting over 500,000 visitors from all nations and religions, making it one of the world's largest Vaisakhi parades. According to the event organizers on Monday, the decision to cancel the 2022 parade was "a painful one."
According to a media release from organizers of the event, Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar, the extent and preparation of this event requires a whole year to accomplish. Due to the tight turnaround between the continuously shifting global health order limitations being lifted and the scheduled date of the parade, the organizing committee did not feel they could conscientiously honour the significance and scope of the occurrence in this timeline.
The yearly event commemorates the founding of the Khalsa in 1699, one of the most critical days in the Sikh calendar. The president of Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar, Moninder Singh, elaborated on the 2022 event cancellation in Surrey.
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According to Singh, the president of Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar, they are Sikh Gurdwara that relies on charitable contributions from the Sikh Sangat (congregation). They believe it would be negligent in proceeding at this time. They also spend huge amounts of money on deposits and expenses in preparation for the event, only to be compelled to cancel the event later due to erratic and last-minute modifications to the public health orders. As a result, they lose donations used to support important pro-Sikh causes.
Although the parade has been cancelled, Singh says several kinds of events will still take effect during the week leading up to April 2nd, such as workshops and seminars and dialogues with local First Nations, listed on the Gurdwara's site by the end of March.
While a full-scale march is out of the picture, Malkiat Singh Dhami, head of the Khalsa Diwan Society of Vancouver, adds a smaller one with a capacity of under 10,000 people is being considered. The question of whether it should be a parade, a gathering, a combination of the two, or whether everything should be cancelled is still being debated. According to Dhami, a decision would be made before the end of the week.
Singh claims that the Vancouver alternative is not a choice for Surrey. He claims that even a lesser event would draw 50,000 to 100,000 people and does not want to limit who will attend. The parade is for the community, and everyone should participate.
Singh feels that by cancelling this year's parade, he will be able to prevent the COVID-19 decline and set the course for 2023. They're also optimistic that they'll be able to pull it off next year.
Thousands of families organize the event and spend thousands of their hard-earned money to support the community on that day through free food and give-aways in the atmosphere of Seva (or Selfless Service) and Sarbat Da Bhalla (or Welfare of all Humanity). They are dissatisfied with the outcome of this year's parade but look forward to reuniting as a community in 2023 for the Surrey Khalsa Day (Vaisakhi) Parade.
Organizers said that even though it is disappointing to have it cancelled again for the third consecutive year, they are still hoping that the community will gather again and celebrate the parade in 2023.