Panorama Ridge Secondary’s Punjabi classes put on grand Vaisakhi celebration
Today is Vaisakhi, a traditional celebration of spring harvest in Indian cultures, which also has religious significance for Sikhs. Panorama Ridge Secondary students were among the many schools in the district participating in their own festivities to recognize and honour the cultural celebration.
For the first time since the pandemic, the school’s Punjabi 10, 11 and 12 classes hosted a schoolwide celebration that included dancing, performances, cultural displays and traditional food to showcase and share Indian culture with the school community. In attendance were Minister of Education Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Labour Harry Bains, Surrey Board of Education Trustees Terry Allen and Bob Holmes, Surrey-Guildford MLA Gary Begg, Surrey Teachers’ Association President Jatinder Badh-Bir, Superintendent Mark Pearmain, Deputy Superintendent Andrew Holland and Assistant Superintendent Jacob Sol.
“Vaisakhi is a significant celebration for many of our students and an important event in highlighting the diversity in our district,” said Laurie Larsen, Chair of the Surrey Board of Education. “In schools as multicultural as ours, it’s imperative we recognize, learn about and celebrate different cultures not just through special events, but in the classroom year round.”
Satvinder Randhawa, who teaches Punjabi 11 at Panorama Ridge, said Vaisakhi is an important celebration for South Asian students to embrace their ancestry, noting Vaisakhi also falls during Sikh Heritage Month and is celebrated by Sikh and Hindu Canadians.
“It’s for the students to have a deeper appreciation – ‘This is my cultural background, this is my heritage,’” she said. “It’s a very important day for everybody to connect to their roots and know the meaning behind these traditions, why we carry on these festivities and what they teach us.”
Randhawa also said events like Vaisakhi foster a sense of community among all students, which is increasingly important in the wake of the pandemic to encourage togetherness after so much time apart.
“Celebrations at school are very important because they bring all the students together and nurture a deeper cultural understanding about the traditions and values of other cultures,” she said. “It’s really important that all the students get together and share a feeling of well-being, of happiness, of festivity. It’s much required now.”