Okanagan Sikh community offers prayers for healthcare workers in lieu of Vaisakhi celebrations - InfoNews

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Okanagan Sikh community offers prayers for healthcare workers in lieu of Vaisakhi celebrations

The fifth annual Vaisakhi parade will affect road and transit travel through Rutland Saturday afternoon.
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April 14, 2020 - 7:00 AM

Vaisakhi parades have been cancelled across the Thompson Okanagan region due to COVID-19, but that isn’t stopping Sikhs from marking the occasion.

Paramjit Singh, president of the Okanagan Sikh Temple and Cultural Society, said members of the Sikh community plan to send a positive message at Kelowna General Hospital tomorrow night at roughly 7 p.m. 

“This is the least we can do at a time like this. It’s a time of blessing and we will just do a prayer for the healthcare workers and for the people inside who are sick,” he said.

Thousands of people from across the valley gather each year for Kelowna’s annual Vaisakhi parade. The parade celebrates the birth of the Sikh faith and the spring harvest. This year the event was scheduled for May 2, and was going to be its 10th anniversary. The temple has also been closed since March 25.

“It means a lot. This is all over the world,” Singh said.

“With the circumstances… each family will celebrate (at home). It’s like Easter, it’s like any (holiday) but it is what it is,” he said.

READ MORE: Virus forces home delivery of Sikh holiday fare and prayers

They will also be donating food to the Central Okanagan Community Food Bank, Singh said. “We were going to spend (the money on the parade) anyway, so we may as well put it to good use.”

Vaisakhi events across the province have been cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic, including in Surrey and Kamloops.


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