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More than 550K people attend Surrey's annual Vaisakhi parade

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Hundreds of thousands of people gathered in Surrey on Saturday to participate in the annual Khalsa Day Vaisakhi Parade, which organizers say is the largest celebration of the Sikh event in the world.

It’s estimated more than 550,000 people attended the parade, which began in the morning at the Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar on 85 avenue and lasted throughout the day.

On display were floats, live music, and dancing. Vendors also offered free vegetarian food along the route, as seva, or “selfless service” in the Sikh faith.

“The food everyone sees being given away for free is a part of that selfless service in the form of "Langar.” In Gurdwaras around the world, Langar is provided day and night for those in need of food, shelter and safety, but it is also a way for communities to connect and people to connect,” said spokesperson Moninder Singh in a statement.

“Over food there is sharing of concerns, worries, discussions around commonalities rather than differences and all of this is why you see so many from the Sikh community offering food to their neighbors and to those they don't know,” he continued.

Sikhs around the world celebrate Vaisakhi, marking the day Guru Gobind Singh created the Khalsa order in 1699. But people from all faiths and cultures are welcome to attend the parade.

Vaisakhi Day is usually celebrated on April 13 or 14, and a parade was held last weekend in South Vancouver.

“It's an occasion for those of us who aren't Sikh to reflect on the remarkable contributions of the Sikh community in our province," Premier David Eby said while in attendance at the April 13 parade.

"The discrimination they've overcome to be able to be reflected in the highest levels of government, industry, business, it's an amazing success story,” he added.

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