Vaisakhi: Creating Memories and Learning Opportunities

This post is brought to you by CIBC. All opinions are my own.

For years my family has attended the Nagar Kirtan (Vaisakhi Parade) in Vancouver or Surrey as a way of celebrating the birth of the Khalsa Panth – a key moment in Sikh history. Some years we’ve walked with the floats, others we’ve observed from the sidelines as the Granth Sahib makes its way through the city, but each year we’ve attended.surrey vaisakhi parade{Surrey Nagar Kirtan 2015}

The first time I remember attending the Nagar Kirtan and really understanding what was going on, I was probably about 8 (the same age as my daughter is now). I walked the entire parade route, and saw the Nagar Kirtan process up close. This experience prompted me to ask my parents lots of questions about Sikhi, and created a lifelong connection for me to my religion.

As a parent myself, I try to take my kids to the Surrey Nagar Kirtan/Vaisakhi Parade almost every year. We’ve never walked the parade route with them yet, but it’s something I hope to do with them one day. Just like everyone else, I struggle to keep my kids connected to the Punjabi culture, and teach them about Sikhi. Attending a community observance like the Nagar Kirtan is great conversation starter. It always gets my kids asking questions about, culture, religion, and Vaisakhi.commemorative vaisakhi coin cibc 2016

We are so blessed that right here in our city of Surrey there is such a large parade. Each year it seems to get just a little bigger, and the energy level of the sangat is phenomenal. This year CIBC has partnered with the Surrey Vaisakhi Parade as a sponsor. They will be setting up a tent which will include a special display of the commemorative Vaisakhi coin they’ve released this year. (Spoiler alert – there will be some special giveaways!) I love to see mainstream brands connecting with the community in an authentic way. It’s almost the same reason I take my kids to see the Nagar Kirtan – you feel a connection to your community and your religion just by attending.

This year the parade is on April 23rd, and will begin at 9:30 from the Gurudwara Sahib Dashmesh Darbar. If you’ve never attended a Nagar Kirtan before, I highly recommend going a little early and being present when the Granth Sahib is first brought out to its palki (chariot). There is sense of energy and spirituality at this moment that can’t be replicated.surrey vaisakhi parade 2

If you haven’t visited the Nagar Kirtan in a while, or are rusty on the principles of Sikhi (it happens to the best of us). Try to think of some talking points before you go. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Khalsa Sirjina Divas
Tell your kid’s the story of the day Guru Gobind Singh ji made the Khalsa. Discuss his decision to choose ‘panj pyare’ from different castes.  (reading notes here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khalsa)

Khanda
Discuss the significance of the khanda with your kids. The khanda symbolizes our dual responsibility as Sikhs; to provide food and protection for the needy and oppressed. It is the visual representation of our slogan ‘Deg Teg Fateh’ – to victory, to charity, and arms.

We just ordered these commemorative pure silver coins from CIBC which have the khanda on one side, and the Ek Onkar symbol on the other. I’m planning to give these to the kids as “good luck charms” of sorts. I’d like them to have a visual reminder of their responsibility to Sikhi. I think it will make a great memory for them to refer to years down the road too.

3 Basics of Sikhi
We’ve found that trying to teach our kids a lot of different lessons and stories about religion can be overwhelming, but little lessons they can hold onto. In our family there are three basics of Sikhi that we try to instill:

Naam Japo: Remember Waheguru and meditate on his name
Kirat Karo: Work with determination and honesty, and use the talent’s Waheguru has given you
Vand Chhako: Share your wealth and participate in charitable causes

I hope that you will head out to the Surrey Nagar Kirtan with your family this weekend and create memories, and learning moments for your kids. Be sure to stop by the CIBC tent at booth located at 128th and 78th street and check out their Vaisakhi coin display where there will be special giveaways.  I will also be hanging out at the CIBC booth in the afternoon and would love for you to stop by and say hi. If you miss me, make sure to snap a pic and share it with me on Twitter or Instagram, I’d love to see you in your Vaisakhi best!

Images by: Aziz Dhamani

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1 Comment

  1. April 25, 2016 / 12:12 pm

    The annual parade seems really great and I love that it’s accepting of all cultures!

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