Every year, Sikhs around the world celebrate Vaisakhi in mid-April, one of the most important annual events for members of the faith.
Vaisakhi marks the day in 1699 when Guru Gobind Sing Ji founded the Khalsa fraternity, but it is also historically serves as a harvest festival, during which farmers give thanks.
Throughout the month of April, Vaisakhi and the birth of the Khalsa is celebrated around the globe.
This is an occasion of dancing, singing, music, the wearing of festive garments and religious praise.
Men dance the Bhangra and women dance the Gidda to celebrate this event.
During the Vaisakhi celebration, processions called nagar kirtan make their way along the streets as they sing hymns from a sacred book of worship know as Guru Granth Sabib.
Many Sikhs choose to be baptized during this holiday.
Canada is home to one of the largest Sikh populations in the world, and Abbotsford-Mission is itself home to a large concentration of Sikhs, with nearly 30,000 people reporting the faith as their religion in the 2011 National Household Survey.
Every year, Vaisakhi celebrations large and small are held across the country. Surrey hosts one of the largest festivals, with the parade there drawing hundreds of thousands of men, women and children of all races and cultures.
That parade features a unique element which pays tribute to the harvest celebration roots of the parade – attendees are given free food and drink from hundreds of local residents and businesses.
This year’s festival takes place April 23. Attendees are asked to cover their heads and refrain from smoking or drinking at the event.