One of the most significant holidays in the Sikh calendar will be celebrated in Kelowna Saturday.
Vaisakhi marks the harvest of winter crops in the Punjab region and the start of a new year. Farmers celebrate the fruits of their labour, give thanks and pray for prosperity in the future.
It’s also remarkable in the religion as it’s when the Sikhs gained a distinct identity.
“It’s a celebration of human rights—that’s what it’s about,” said Paramjit Philip Patara to the Capital News last year, explaining that religious strife in India hundreds of years ago gave way to the Sikh tenets, which focus on religious freedom.
“The Sikh community is about defending the defenceless and standing up for your own and other people’s rights. That’s the basics behind it. That’s what the celebration is all about.”
The event which is a feast for eyes, is also an opportunity for locals to feast on Indian cuisine and get a closer look at the traditions of their neighbours — everyone is welcome.
The parade will begin and end at the Sikh Temple on Rutland Road with a drop-off zone for participants in front of the Temple entrance from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. Sumac Road will be closed from Rutland Road to Keyes Road for the duration of event. There will be a short road closure for approximately 20 minutes on McCurdy Road from Rutland Road to Craig Road between 2 and 3 p.m. Motorists will be detoured onto Aldon Road and Hartman Road.
Rolling closures will continue along Ortt Road, Wallace Road, Sycamore Road, Sumac Road, Friesen Road, and Keyes Road between noon and 3 p.m.
Pedestrian crossings will be restricted along Rutland Road. Dedicated crossings will be made available to cross at Almond Court, McCurdy Road and Wallace Road. Transit service may experience delays along Rutland Road due to the drop off zone. Visit bctransit.com under Kelowna for route and schedule information.
Residents can reduce traffic and parking congestion by choosing various modes of Active Transportation, such as biking, walking, carpooling or taking transit. Visit smartTRIPS.ca to learn more about how the City supports and promotes Active Transportation through events, programs, and education.
On Saturday, April 29, the Okanagan Sikh Temple and Cultural Society is hosting its seventh annual Vaisakhi Parade. There will be rolling road closures along the parade route between 11:45 a.m. and 3 p.m. Times are approximate depending on the speed of the parade.
For information about parking, road closures and potential delays, visit kelowna.ca/roadreport.