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CNC celebrates Vaisakhi, Sikh culture

Brilliantly coloured saris swayed though the halls as turbans were tied and the delicious scent of samosas filled the air at CNC on Thursday.
Harpreet Singh Gehlon competes in a turban-tying competition during a Vaisakhi celebration at CNC on Thursday afternoon.

Brilliantly coloured saris swayed though the halls as turbans were tied and the delicious scent of samosas filled the air at CNC on Thursday.

It was all in praise of Vaisakhi (also spelled Baisakhi), a significant festival of Sikhs celebrated predominantly in the state of Punjab, India and now, all around the world.

At CNC, the festival was abuzz with traditional song, dance and food to mark the Sikh New Year harvest festival, usually celebrated on April 13-14.

It also commemorates the year Sikhism was born as a collective faith.

"This is our cultural festival. We celebrate it because it was on this day 318 years ago, our faith came to be," said Mankiran Kaur, a second year CNC student and co-organizer of the event.

The festival holds great religious significance as it was on Vaisakhi in 1699 that Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh Guru, laid the foundation of Panth-Khalsa - the Order of the Pure Ones.

For Manminder Singh, leadership student and co-organizer of the event, it is an important occasion and one that he was thrilled to share with his school community.

"Our Sikh religion was born today. And this is a time where we can share our Indian culture and be thankful," Singh said.

And according to Singh's leadership instructor, Cliff Raphael, this was also a project that Singh couldn't wait to take on.

"It was part of his leadership project," There were three parts and this was the third.

Students were asked to find a project, people, a mentor and then go and do," Raphael said.

"It is so important to his culture, the CNC community and the greater community. I'm so excited because it took a lot of work and putting together. I'm so happy."

The lineup for traditional dishes continued to grow complete with a turban tying competition.

"We are so thankful to CNC, the Student's Union and International Education for motivating students to organize multicultural events on campus," said CNC Student Union staff member, Harman Dandiwal.

Traditionally in the large farming communities of Punjab, Vaisakhi is a time to celebrate the harvest and be thankful for a bountiful crop while singing devotional songs along with bhangra and gidda performances.

And at CNC, staff, students and community members were thankful to share in the Sikh celebration.

"We want to show people our culture and we want them to enjoy it and share in our special day.

"This is a day when we all dress up, eat great food and celebrate. We unite with our families and today we want to come together and share this unity with others," said Kaur.