Gur Sikh Gurdwara temple in B.C. celebrates centennial
By Andy Ivens, Postmedia News August 29, 2011
Tens of thousands of people turned out Sunday for a parade and a ceremony attended by political heavyweights to mark the centennial of the Gur Sikh Gurdwara, the oldest Sikh temple in North America. The federal government declared the Abbotsford, B.C., Sikh temple a national historic site in 2002.
Satwinder Bains, director of the Centre for Indo-Canadian Studies at the University of the Fraser Valley, said she was proud of her community’s remarkable achievements.
“It has a huge significance to us,” said Bains
The weekend celebration began Friday morning.
“The prayers started on Friday, and there was 48 hours of continuous reading of the scriptures,” said Bains.
Harper reflected on “the tremendous contributions of the Sikh community in Canada,” which he called “a community that continues to play an important role in building our strong, dynamic society while taking great pride in their faith and traditions,” in a news release.
“The temple is more than just a building, it’s a sacred place with a long history of holiness, community and family,” Clark said. “The temple and the people who continue to care for it are a significant part of the cultural mosaic that makes our province great,” she added in a statement.
Bains said the temple is indispensable in Sikh culture.
“It is the cornerstone of our social life,” she said.
“It has more significance than just being a religious place. It’s where we eat, pray … It’s a place where we go for every momentous event in our lives – birth, deaths, marriage.
“We have a place that’s not just for our own community … but for the larger community as well,” she said.
Ashok Das, India’s consulgeneral in Canada, brought greetings from his government and called the event “a historic occasion.”
“The Sikh community is acting as a bridge between our two countries. We recall the sacrifices made by the pioneers. This is a very happy occasion for us,” said Das.
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