South Asian community members in the Toronto region prepare for a note somewhat different from the major festivals this weekend.
Saturday marks the start of Diwali, among the most important celebrations in Hinduism, and the Bandi Chhor Divas, observed by Sikhs around the world.
While Peel District health officials spend the week urging followers to keep celebrations indoors due to the COVID-19 pandemic, community members are prepared to celebrate away and safely. .
“We’ve all got creative in how we celebrate during the pandemic,” said Sharnjit Kaur, Vice President of the Global Sikh Organization in Ontario.
Celebrating in mid-April, the Sikh Vesakhi holiday has been muted this year – many notes become virtual and cancel the annual Khalsa Dai Parade, which regularly draws hundreds of thousands of people to downtown Toronto.
“There is a sense of loss when we cannot meet in person, but I think society at large has been very understanding,” Kaur said..
« As disappointing as it was, I think there was a sense of responsibility and I’m very proud of the fact that the community has really risen to the occasion and tried to provide other opportunities for individuals to celebrate..
This includes live streaming services from gurdwaras both in India and locally, as well as encouraging virtual connections with family, friends, and community members – especially international and needy students.
Kaur said society has played an active role in mitigating the negative impacts of the epidemic – including distributing personal protective equipment, food campaigns, free meals, and raising millions of dollars in support within and outside the South Asian community.
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Diwali, Sikhism, South Asia
World News – CA – The South Asian community of GTA prepares for celebrations close to home
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