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Thousands from Saskatoon Sikh community celebrate annual Nagar Kirtan parade

Saskatoon's Sikh community marks the spring festival of Vaisakhi on Sunday, May 19, 2024. (Noah Rishaug / CTV News) Saskatoon's Sikh community marks the spring festival of Vaisakhi on Sunday, May 19, 2024. (Noah Rishaug / CTV News)
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The Sikh culture in Saskatoon is growing, and the massive turnout at the Nagar Kirtan parade on Sunday put the strength of their community on full display, as thousands walked up a span of Attridge Drive.

The parade marks one of the major events in the Sikh spring celebration of Vaisakhi. The festival typically happens in India earlier in April, but some Canadian celebrations are pushed to May to allow for good weather.

On Sunday, the parade grounds were filled with dozens of tents serving food. As part of Sikh tradition, all of the food was completely free of charge for every attendee.

Preet Kamal Gill helped organize the parade. He says his community opens its doors to anyone curious about their culture.

"I want to say to the people of Saskatoon, and Canada at large. You're welcome to join at any time. You're welcome to come to the Sikh temple and ask questions, we just want to share our values, our culture, and our cuisine with the world — and hopefully we'll all benefit from it," he said.

Gill says the festival is about being proud of tradition and educating others on cultures that may be unfamiliar to them. For example, many Canadians are curious about the significance of the turban.

"In ancient times, only the royal or the elite were allowed to wear turbans, so by bestowing this gift upon us all, everyone can wear a turban, and everyone can be a king and an equal."

Saskatoon's Sikh community marks the spring festival of Vaisakhi on Sunday, May 19, 2024. (Noah Rishaug / CTV News)

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