The festival marks its 6th anniversary with scholarships, a live concert, a two-day art installation, and much more
SIKH Heritage Month BC celebrates its sixth anniversary with a series of events and awards aimed at recognizing and celebrating the unique contributions of Sikh Canadians.
The theme for Sikh Heritage Month 2023 is “Sacha Dhan”. Sacha Dhan loosely translates to ‘true wealth,’ and asks individuals to reflect on what true wealth means to them. Is it family? Faith? Or perhaps simply happiness?
Sikh Heritage BC Says: “Join us as we explore the meaning of Sacha Dhan through a series of in-person events aimed at encouraging intercultural dialogue and spreading awareness about the contributions Sikh Canadians have made to the province of British Columbia for more than a century.”
This year’s events include:
● Sikh Heritage Month 2023 Launch Gala on April 1 at Surrey City Hall, 1-3 p.m. Guests will enjoy a live musical performance, a sneak peak of the arts event. This event will include official recognition of SHBC’s five scholarship recipients and celebration of three ‘Community Changemakers’.
● Manbir Singh, Live in Concert on April 2, at the Anvil Centre in New Westminster, 5:30-7:30 pm. This will be the first ever Sikh Heritage Month live concert. Manbir Singh is a popular classical Sikh musician from Sydney, Australia, whose traditional and timeless performance is sure to capture the audience’s attention. The event will focus on Sikh musical tradition. The event is now sold out to the public.
● Khazaana – The Treasure of Sikh Heritage, live and interactive art exhibit at Surrey City Hall on April 7 at 6 p.m. and April 8 at 1 p.m. Khazaana means “treasure” and this event will highlight a treasure trove of local Sikh artists – including fine art, poetry, film, as well as stage performances.
● Story Time with UBC Sikh Students Association on April 9 at Surrey City Centre Library, 12-2 p.m. In partnership with SHBC, the UBC Sikh Students’ Association will be hosting two children’s book reading sessions, with child-friendly snacks and drinks provided.
● Not Sikh Enough – Finding a Sense of Belonging and Sangat on April 18 at Decibel Warehouse, from 6p.m. to 8 p.m. In honour of Sikh Heritage Month, 5X is partnering with SHBC to create a space for people in the community to come together, heal and talk about what Sikhi means to them. This is a safe space where people can come as they are, no matter who they are, and engage in a community discussion led by Manveer Singh, followed by a grounding meditation.
● SHBC Kirtan and Shastar exhibit on April 30 at Guru Nanak Sikh Gurdwara in Surrey, from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. To close the month, SHBC will be hosting a kirtan (Sikh musical prayers) and shastar exhibit. This event will give members of the community an opportunity to learn more about the Sikh faith and community. Individuals will be available to guide visitors through the experience and answer any questions that may arise. All guests are welcome to take part in langar, a free communal meal, during their visit. The shastar exhibit is an opportunity for guests to learn about and see first-hand, historic Sikh artefacts which were often used in battle but have also served a purpose which far surpasses that role. Caretakers of these shastars will be available to explain their significance and answer questions.
SHBC will also be hosting a number of partnered events throughout the month. Further details can be found at Sikh Heritage BC. SHBC’s education project also features five $1,500 scholarships. These scholarships are available to any current grade 12 students attending a post-secondary institution in September 2023, regardless of their ethnicity, religion or status. They include the Bhai Mardana Ji Arts Scholarship, the Bibi Harnam Kaur Ji Leadership Scholarship, the Mata Bhaag Kaur Ji Athletics Scholarship, the Mata Khivi Ji Community Service Scholarship, and the Sant Teja Singh Ji Academic Achievement Scholarship.
“In keeping with our mandate, these scholarships are an expansion of our education project,” says Jasleen Kaur, the Director of Education at SHBC. “Although applications have now closed, we will formally recognize the scholarship recipients at the onset of Sikh Heritage Month. We hope funding opportunities like these will assist young British Columbians in pursuing their dreams and making an impact in their communities.”
SHBC has also added a series of new lesson plans to supplement those which were unveiled in 2021 and 2022. These lesson plans aim to incorporate Sikh voices and stories into BC classrooms and are created by teachers for teachers.
For more information, visit: Education — Sikh Heritage BC: www.sikhheritagebc.ca/education
About Sikh Heritage BC
Sikh Heritage BC initially launched Sikh Heritage Month in BC in 2018, with the purpose of celebrating the contributions and aspirations of all Sikh-Canadians and developing a greater
understanding and appreciation of the community’s rich, unique and diverse heritage. Sikhs
have been in BC for over 100 years and Sikh Heritage Month BC is an opportunity to showcase their contribution to the economic, social, and cultural fabric of the province.