The Squamish Sikh Society is bringing back its annual parade in mid-June for the 16th Squamish celebration.
On Saturday, June 17 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. the Sikh community will be celebrating the martyrdom of the fifth Guru, Guru Arjun Dev Ji. The parade will start at the Gurdwara Baba Nanak Sahib (Sikh Temple) on Fifth Avenue, navigate through downtown, and end at Junction Park and O’Siyam Pavillion where a short reading and verbal presentation will take place.
“The part of the life of the Sikh is to share the values,” said Avtar Gidda, the secretary of the Squamish Sikh Society.
With that in mind, Gidda said the parade welcomes everybody and will have activities for those of all ages. There will also be free food for people attending the parade route, which is called Guru Ka Langar.
Last year’s parade saw at least 1,000, said Gidda, and the expectation for this year’s gathering is similar.
In previous years, the parade gathered upwards of several thousand people and the upcoming parade marks the second iteration since it had to be called off in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions.
Guru Arjun Dev Ji is known for fighting injustice and supporting human rights, equality and liberty, said several members of the Squamish Sikh Society. Guru Arjun Dev Ji is additionally known for writing the first version of Guru Granth Sahib also known as Adi Granth, the holy scripture of Sikhism.
According to information about Sikhism from the Squamish Sikh Society, the Sikh concept and tradition are based on “realistic philosophy.”
“It impresses that living should not be wasted in abstract expectations after death, but be devoted to self-improvement and the selfless service of mankind for transforming the mortals into His image (Gurmukhs),” reads an information flyer.
Gidda repeated similar ideas about the local community.
“We are always ready to help, door is always open,” he said. “If somebody's hungry, you can come to the Gurdwara.”
Sikhism is one of the largest religions in the world with about 26 million members worldwide.