“Today, Sikhs in Canada and around the world will celebrate Bandi Chhor Divas.
“This holiday commemorates the story of the sixth Guru, Guru Hargobind Sahib, and his release from prison. According to Sikh history, the Guru refused to leave captivity unless 52 long-imprisoned kings were freed alongside him. His devotion to peace and the freedom of his fellow prisoners is a reminder to Sikhs – and to all Canadians – of the importance of helping those in need.
“Bandi Chhor Divas is a time of celebration, where family and friends traditionally gather to read the Sikh holy book – the Guru Granth Sahib – feast, and adorn their homes and Gurdwaras in colourful lights. This year’s festivities will look different due to the COVID‑19 pandemic, as we follow public health guidelines to keep each other and our communities safe. While Sikhs adapt to a new form of commemoration, this important holiday will continue to inspire us and serve as a reminder that justice and peace will prevail.
“This celebration is also a reminder of the values Canadians hold dear – freedom, inclusion, and respect. It gives us an opportunity to thank Canadians of the Sikh faith for their contributions to our country, and to learn more about their traditions. Canada’s diversity is our strength and has helped shape our country for the better.
“On behalf of the Government of Canada, Sophie and I wish a happy Bandi Chhor Divas to all those celebrating.”
B.C. Premier John Horgan said in a statement:
“Today, we join Sikh communities throughout British Columbia and around the world in celebrating Bandi Chhor Divas.
“On this day, Sikhs recall the release from prison of Guru Hargobind Sahib, the sixth Guru, who refused liberation unless 52 kings and princes, also held as prisoners, were freed with him.
“This is a time to remember the importance of respect, freedom and inclusion in our daily lives. This is also a time for prayer and contemplation, as we reflect on the obligation to help people around us, especially those less fortunate.
“As we continue to cope with a global pandemic, this year’s celebration will be different, though as joyous as ever. Coming together safely will mean slowing the spread of the virus and protecting those most vulnerable, including the elderly.
“On behalf of all British Columbians, I wish everyone celebrating a happy Bandi Chhor Divas.”