The Sikh community of Shediac gathered on Sunday to celebrate the religious festival of Vaisakhi.
Vaisakhi marks the establishment of Sikhism in 1699 and the start of the harvest season.
Prabhjot Singh took part in what he says is the first nagar kirtan in New Brunswick.
The tradition involves a procession of people singing hymns. In this case, they went to the site that will house their future temple.
“It’s a very religious holiday in the Sikh community.” he said as he served free artisan food in the group’s temporary temple.
“Anyone from any religion, caste or anywhere in Canada can come here, sit here, eat here… We help each other because that we’re building a community here,” Singh said.
The principle follows that of is going – or selfless service – a concept embodied by the founding gurus of Sikhism.
The province’s Sikh community hoped to set up a nagar kirtan since last year, but COVID-19 restrictions have prevented it.
That’s why it was a relief for Navdeep Singh to make the motorcade.
“I am very grateful and excited because everyone in our community wanted [to have a] Sikh temple here where we can worship,” Singh said.
He said it is good for members of the community to come together for a celebration like this, as they share the experience of being immigrants who miss their home.
“A lot of people are moving… The community is growing and there is a need for a Sikh temple.”
Navneet Kaur moved here from Toronto and said the event is a way to remember her culture and bring a sense of community to the area.
“Have the nagar kirtan held in [the Atlantic provinces] is truly a proud moment for me, and I feel like everyone will join in and respect our culture and know more about it.”
Several hundred people from across the Maritimes attended the event.