The Khalsa Day parade starts from the CNE at 1pm on Sunday, April 24. Earlier that morning, at the Better Living Centre, there’s an opportunity to experience Sikh worship. It begins about 9am. Please be aware that this is a religious event. Yes, you can take pictures and outsiders are welcome, but men and women do have to cover your head. A scarf is fine. Look for the picture of the two non-Sikh policemen in the previous blog.
You do have to take off your shoes inside the building. Of course there’s a place to leave them in neat long rows. Just ask anyone. Don’t forget to note where you left them.
If it is like my visit two years ago, the building will be very crowded. People lined up then with their offerings. The women sat together, in their brightly coloured salwar kameez clothes. If you’re a woman, you might want to sit with them and absorb the atmosphere. Sacred songs were played.
In another part of the vast room, volunteers passed out food. Diners sat on the floor. Don’t hesitate about joining them. It’s like being in India. If you’ve never been to the Punjab in north India, this is your introduction to its colours, sounds, and the fragrance of incense and curry. The food is great and vegetarian. The bonus is the English. You can talk with many more people here than in India. Most are delighted to explain if you ask questions. People come and go any time.
Last year there was a float with a big sign, “Sikh Values are Canadian Values.” In smaller but readable print were the words, “In a world darkened by ethnic conflicts that tear nations apart, Canada stands as a model of how people of different cultures can live and work together in peace, prosperity and mutual respect.”
I hope this float appears again. The sentiment is beautiful and should be repeated.
For a visit to a Sikh temple in Toronto, see Blog No. 3. The Lion’s Exotic Den.