If you have ever wandered down Cleveland avenue on a Saturday in the middle of June, you may already be familiar with this annual vibrant celebration open to the entire Squamish community. For many who stumble upon it, this festival is a welcoming event complete with a parade, readings, and the kindness of sharing of free, delicious, vegetarian food, or Guru Ka Langar. This makes it a popular event amongst locals and visiting climbers alike.
For fifteen years, The Squamish Sikh community has honored the Martyrdom of Guru Arjan Dev Ji, the fifth Guru, with a festival that is open and inclusive to the entire Squamish community regardless of religious beliefs or practices. Now, coming out of two years of pandemic restrictions, the festival is back.
“ We are hoping to have the support of the Squamish community at large,” says Makhan Sangera, the president of the Squamish Sikh Society in his letter to the Squamish community. “ The Squamish Sikh Society would be honored if you will find the time in your busy schedule to attend the parade.” Over 30 Million practicing Sikhs will be celebrating this weekend around the world.
The Sikh temple on 5th avenue is a busy place right now with food preparation and prayer. This festival is one of the most important Sikh gurupabs (festivals related to the life of one guru) because Guru Arjan was the first Martyr of the Sikh religion. Like any other gurupab, scriptures are read for 5 days prior to the festival, which also honors the 5 days in which Guru Arjan was tortured before he was taken to the river and killed.
The Sikhs call their faith Gurmat, in Punjabi: “the Way of the Guru”. The religion is centered around a call to service and the practice of inclusivity and selfless deeds. Sikh comes from the Sish word for a disciple, keen to learn. Guru Arjan was the 5th human to be inhabited by the spirit of the one eternal Guru and was responsible for compiling the first version of the Sikh holy scripture called the “Adi Granth” and building The Golden Temple in the northern Punjab province, Amritsar city, in India, officially known as the Siri Harmandir Sahib.
One of the core beliefs of the Sikh Religion is that “ A good life is lived as part of a community, by living honestly and caring for others”.
The event will take place Saturday, June 18th, 2022 between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm through downtown and in the O’Siyam Pavilion and Junction Park in Squamish.
For more information visit the Squamish Sikh Society at the Sikh Temple, 37947 5th avenue, or show up this weekend and come ready to engage and celebrate!