Merritt Central Elementary School celebrates Vaisakhi and Eid for the first time.

Last weekend, Sikhs around the world celebrated Vaisakhi whilst Muslims celebrated Eid last week.

Marking the first month of Vaisakh, traditionally celebrated by the Sikh people on April 13 or 14, Vaisakhi is a harvest festival that sees parades and dancing.

For Muslims, Eid al-Fitr or Eid marks the end of dawn-to-sunset fasting for Ramadan. Eid begins at sunset on the night of the first sighting of the crescent moon. If the moon is not observed immediately after 29 days of the previous lunar month, Eid begins the following day.

This year Eid was celebrated from April 10 until April 12.

Educational assistant Nitu Chhabra highlighted Vaisakhi parades around B.C. in cities such as Vancouver, Surrey, Kelowna and Kamloops. “There’s a lot of festivities of dancing and there’s martial arts from the Sikh community in there… and there’s lots of stalls for foods and stuff that’s being given out,” said Chhabra.

“Merrittonians can celebrate, they can visit Sikh temple for more festivities as well and just dress up and enjoy the food and take part in the parades in the closest town they can be in,” said Chhabra.

For Merritt Central Elementary School, students and staff celebrated with an assembly showcasing Vaisakhi and Eid presented by former Central Elementary Student Diya Chhabra, as well as sharing samosas.

“We have made a commitment to anti-racism and inclusive education, at the beginning of the year, one of our bulletin boards you’ll see has handprints and a commitment written out that we are going to be accepting of all,” said principal Natashi Omori.

“We have an assembly every Monday so instead of doing our regular social emotional learning, for the assembly, we decided we would share the celebrations and cultural experiences of a lot of our student body and hopefully open the minds of some of the students who have never experienced or heard of some of these holidays,” said Omori.

Celebrating Vaisakhi and Eid at Merritt Central Elementary School has inspired Omori to reach out to other students and families of different backgrounds and hopes they can share their cultural traditions with the rest of the community.

“If there are other holidays that come up, then we would like to teach everybody about all the cultures that make up Central Elementary School,” said Omori.