By Surjit Singh Flora
Easter takes place this year on Sunday, April 12, and the Khalsa Day (Vaisakhi) celebration is the following Tuesday, April 14. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, however, the question has been posed – how should Sikhs and Christians around the world celebrate these special days?
The problem also occurred when religious services in gurdwaras, temples, mosques, and churches to stop and lockdown it’s daily prayers and gathering. It’s not about the leadership or the faith. It’s about law-abiding was required.
This weekend is normally a great festival for those associated with Christianity. However, this is no ordinary time.
Easter is the day that is celebrated as the resurrection of Jesus from the tomb on the third day after his crucifixion. Easter is the fulfilled prophecy of the Messiah who would be persecuted, die for our sins, and rise on the third day. It was first celebrated in the 18th century. On this day, the Christian people normally gather in large numbers in churches, join in the remembrance of Jesus Christ, and enjoy a meal with their family members in the evening.
However, COVID-19 has changed the world in the span of just a few weeks. It remains to be seen how Christians will celebrate Easter this weekend amid a pandemic.
Church administrators have appealed to Christian peoples to join online sermons and services, including with their families, or to have dinner with family members via Facetime or online broadcasting in the evening. If there are older adults in your family who may be affected by COVID-19, make a turkey dinner and place it at their door that they can pick up and eat.
The Jewish community lives in Montreal with a growing enthusiasm for Easter. They are distributing religious services online and packing food boxes for their members this year.
April 14 is the day of Vaisakhi. For Sikhs, this day is very important. Sikhs normally gather in the hundreds of thousands at Sikh temples to commemorate and celebrate Khalsa day.
To celebrate this day, Sikhs held two of the largest Khalsa Day parades in the country from years, including one held at the grounds of the Canadian National Exhibition, and one in Surrey, British Columbia. This year, both those parades have been cancelled.
There has been very little news in our community so far on how to celebrate Vaisakhi Day on April 14, even though our respected managers must have made decisions about it. The administrators of the Scarborough Sikh temple appealed to Sikhs to stay home and practice safe physical distancing through their social media platforms.
This is only the way to keep the social distance and not break any rules and laws. Every Sikh temple can follow the same path as the Scarborough Sikh Temple through social media.
Also, every Sikh temple should collect donations and support the most vulnerable and needy in our communities.
Every Sikh temple and Sikhs around the world must pray for our frontline workers, including health workers, truck drivers, grocery store clerks, and many others, for their courage as they work selflessly to minimize the suffering caused by COVID-19. They have chosen to head towards the danger for our sake. We owe it to them to play our part in limiting the spread of this virus by staying home and practicing social distancing when we need to go out. Most importantly, please stay home.
Happy Easter and Happy Vaisakhi. Be safe, and God bless all!