Vaisakhi parade cancelled again as COVID-19 pandemic wears on into a 2nd year

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The Vaisakhi festivals in Vancouver and Surrey draw hundreds of thousands of people each year. (CBC - image credit)
The Vaisakhi festivals in Vancouver and Surrey draw hundreds of thousands of people each year. (CBC - image credit)

For the second year in a row, the annual Vaisakhi parade and festival in Surrey has been cancelled as its B.C. organizers try to limit the spread of COVID-19 during the ongoing pandemic.

The cancellation was announced Tuesday in a news release issued by the Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar, a Sikh temple and community organization based In Surrey, B.C.

This year's Vaisakhi Khalsa Day Parade was scheduled for April 24 but will not be going ahead, according to the statement.

"[We] have made the difficult decision to announce that the annual Surrey Vaisakhi Khalsa Day parade will not occur in 2021," said Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar president Moninder Singh.

The day-long celebration is the largest Vaisakhi Khalsa Day Parade in the world, according to the organization, and draws in excess of 500,000 people from across the region.

"It is clear that there is no path for an event the size and magnitude of our parade to occur safely within the next three months," Singh wrote.

Celebrate with small family groups

In the meantime, Singh suggested, families should still celebrate the special Sikh day but within close family groups.

The parade was cancelled last year after the World Health Organization declared a worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, forcing most businesses to shut down and large cultural gatherings to be suspended.