Thousands congregate in northeast Calgary for colourful Nagar Kirtan parade
The annual Nagar Kirtan parade took place Saturday morning, bringing thousands of people to northeast Calgary.
The parade is part of the festival of Vaisakhi, and sees devotees sing prayers, play music and chant hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib — the Sikh holy book — as the procession passes down the street. Calgary's event is part of similar celebrations taking place across the world.
Vaisakhi marks the anniversary of the creation of the collective faith of Sikhism in 1699 and the beginning of the harvest season.
The parade started at Dashmesh Culture Centre in Martindale and ended at Prairie Winds Park.
Raj Sidhu, director of operations with the Dashmesh Culture Centre — the main Sikh temple in northeast Calgary — says Nagar Kirtan is the second largest event in the city, after the Calgary Stampede.
"The purpose of this is to bring the community together," he said.
Harkirit Singh, who was volunteering at the event, says its all about celebration.
"All doors are open to everybody. Anybody wants a free meal, wants to get to learn more about the Sikh faith, come on through."
Avleen Dullat is excited to celebrate with food — particularly the sweet treat Kulfi.
"They're basically ice cream. But they have different flavours of almonds and stuff like that. That's what I've been looking for. I've been craving those for a while now."