In pics, Calgary's huge Nagar Kirtan parade

written by Ritika Nath | May 15, 2022

Calgary's massive Nagar Kirtan: Hundreds of thousands of Sikh Calgarians assembled in northeast Calgary to celebrate Vaisakhi, a holiday marking the beginning of their religion in 1699.

The occasion was commemorated with the Nagar Kirtan Parade. It started at the Dashmesh Culture Centre and ended at Prairie Winds Park along Falconridge Blvd NE.

For the unversed, a Nagar Kirtan is a community parade that pays honour to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh sacred scripture, with hymns and prayers. Paradegoers can walk up to one of the ceremonial vehicles and bow their heads in respect of the scriptures. Nagar Kirtan literally translates as "bringing religion to the community."

The parade was open to all Calgarians, not just northeast residents and Sikh community members, according to organisers.

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As the procession passes along the street, followers offer prayers, perform music, and shout songs from the Guru Granth Sahib — the Sikh holy book — as part of the Vaisakhi festival.

This year, the Dashmesh Culture Centre was focusing on making the celebration more ecologically friendly by implementing a number of steps.

Previous versions of the parade in northeast Calgary drew over 60,000 spectators, however the events in 2020 and 2021 were cancelled owing to the COVID-19 epidemic.

The center has organised community buses for the following neighbourhoods to carry passengers to and from the parade in addition to regular weekend transit service.

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