Cochrane's Sikh community is celebrating.

The annual festival known as 'Vaisakhi' is celebrated all around the world and is the largest historical and religious celebration in Sikhism. It is celebrated on April 13 or 14 depending on the Nanakshahi Calendar.

Community member, Paul Singh, shares Vaisakhi marks the foundation of the Khalsa community of Sikhs. The festival dates back to April 13, 1699. "Guru Gobing Singh created the sword baptism and transformed the Sikh's to become warriors to fight against the evil or bad things happening at that time. Vaisakhi is also an ancient festival of the Punjabis marking the Solar New Year and the spring harvest."

Singh states there are between 50-100 Sikh's living in Cochrane and like many other cultural groups in town is very close-knit. "That is one of the biggest advantages of living in Cochrane, it still gives you a small town feeling everybody knows each other because we have lots of activities that bring out all groups of people together."

The 25th Vaisakhi parade held in Calgary on April 7th drew close to 40,00 people. "It is for everybody you don't have to be Sikh. People from all communities are welcome and they do take part."

Singh is working on compiling a list of all cultural groups special celebrations and festivals. "It is a great way to bring communities together, people learn about other cultures."

To celebrate Vaisakhi, Mehtab will be offering mango lassi and pakora tasting as a courtesy.

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