Community invited to share Sikh new year celebration

Vaisakhi celebrations coming to the Saanich Fairgrounds this weekend.

Prajakta Trehan performs a dance at the 2nd annual India Mela festival in Centennial Square. The two day festival featured entertainment

Vaisakhi is celebrated in many different ways in India and around the globe, but at its core is a celebration of family and community, says Gordy Dodd.

As Greater Victoria’s Indo-Canadian community prepares to mark this annual tradition with a major inter-cultural festival at the Saanich Fairgrounds on May 7, the well-known local merchant and president of the India Canada Cultural Association says Vaisakhi celebrations are about “sharing with family and friends.”

“I firmly believe that when a community gathers in sharing its food, culture, music, art and dance then our whole community of Victoria gains a sense of tranquility, equality and belonging that is spiritually healing for all of us,” he says.

The second annual Vaisakhi Mela is about bringing together people from all backgrounds and ethnicities to enjoy the diversity and colour of India’s rich culture, in one place.

The day’s activities range from dance demonstrations and competitions to traditional and contemporary Indian music, henna hand tattoo creations and for the younger set, there’s pony rides, face painting and a giant bouncy castle. Among the new entertainment is a fusion Scottish bhangra element that will amalgamate the Punjabi program with the Scottish dancers. And a DJ will be spinning upbeat Indian music from 4 to 6 p.m.

Arts and cultural booths will provide opportunities for interaction, and of course, there will be various food kiosks from which hungry visitors can sample the wonderful cuisine of India.

Vikram Bawa, an ICCA executive member and chair of the Vaisakhi Mela, said the celebration has been expanded to include Indo-Canadian communities in Duncan and Nanaimo. With more food vendors and new kiosks added from the business and cultural communities, he expects the attendance to grow from about 1,700 last year to 2,500 or more.

The popularity of the event with the region’s non Indo-Canadian communities prompted organizers to arrange for more food and attractions for families this year, Bawa says.

“This year it’s the Vancouver Island Mela,” he says of the expansion. “There’s way more good fun for the kids and for the home-cooked food, we price it at a point where affordability is the key. We want all the community around Victoria to come and join us in this celebration.”

For more than 40 years, the Victoria-based non-profit ICCA has operated with a mandate to celebrate and raise awareness about Indian cultural activities and traditions locally, as well as to build bridges between Indo-Canadian and other communities and cultural groups.

The May 7 event is free to get in and runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Fairgrounds, 1528 Stelly’s X Rd. in Central Saanich.

— by Don Descoteau/Black Press

 

Getting there:

While parking is plentiful at the Saanich Fairgrounds, for people wishing to travel to the Vaisakhi celebration without driving can take advantage of free transportation from the Sikh Temple at 1210 Topaz Ave., as well as other pick-up points. Departure times are as follows:

• Vehicles will leave the Khalsa Diwan Sikh Temple at 1210 Topaz Ave. at 11:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m. Departures from Saanich Commonwealth Place are at noon, 12:30 and 2 p.m.

• Vehicles also leave Mayfair Centre from the Toys R Us entrance at 11:30 a.m., 12:30 and 1:30 p.m., while departures from Sizzling Tandoor at Uptown happen at 11:30, 12:30 and 1:30 p.m.

• Regular return times from the fairgrounds go at 2:30 p.m., 3:30, 4:30, 5:30.

 

Just Posted

More buoys allowed for Brentwood Bay

Proposed number rises from 40 to 60

Victoria airport reaches nearly two million passengers in 2017

This year expected to see additional growth

Peninsula speed skating duo aiming for the national stage

Pair opted to train in long track skating this season for the first time

Tent city resident just wants a home

Roving tent city has made its way to Central Saanich

Island Health, service providers meeting to talk about used needles in Victoria

Recent public needle-prick incidents prompt call to reduce number of needles found

Sidney’s Salish Sea aquarium to close for maintenance

First extended closure for the Shaw Centre for the Salish Sea since it opened in 2009

Butchart Gardens is hiring now and paying more

Wages start at $15, job fair Feb. 20

Cash still needed for Stelly’s Cross Path

MLA Olsen wants more specifics first

Injured parachutist wants stolen backpack back

Bag contained important video files of 2017 parachuting incident

Body discovered in burnt out car near Trail

Police report a body was found in the burnt out trunk of a 1999 Honda Civic

VIDEO: B.C. Lions sign defensive back T.J. Lee to contract for upcoming season

The four-year veteran had a team-high four interceptions and 49 tackles last season with B.C.

How an immigrant to Canada helped Donald Trump prove his mental health

Test that cleared Trump was developed by doctor associated with McGill and Sherbrooke universities

Premier touches on multiple topics ahead of Asia trade trip

Housing and childcare are expected to be the focus of the BC NDP’s first budget in February.

Wanted by Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers for the week of Jan. 16

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Most Read