Sikh Heritage Month takes place in April and is a great time to share and celebrate the various roles that Sikh Canadians have played in society.
What is Sikh Heritage Month, and why is it important?
Sikh Heritage Month in Canada is a month to celebrate Sikh culture, past and present contributions of Sikh Canadians, and an opportunity to educate future generations about Sikh heritage and culture. Canada’s Sikh community numbers more than 500,000 people – making it the second-largest Sikh community in the world.
In 2013, the month of April was pronounced Sikh Heritage Month in Ontario, and in 2019, April was proclaimed Sikh Heritage Month across Canada.
It is important to recognize the many cultures within Canada, as they all have made significant contributions to the growth of our country. Canada is a country with many different people of different backgrounds, and by celebrating their cultures and traditions, we can continue on our journey toward a more inclusive country.
Why is Sikh Heritage Month in April?
Sikh Heritage Month occurs in April to coincide with Vaisakhi, held each year on April 13 or 14. It celebrates the year 1699 (the year the Sikh community, the Khalsa, was founded) and is also known as Khalsa Day. The festival takes place in Punjabi, India – but Vaisakhi is also celebrated in other places – and also marks the spring harvest. In some places, it is recognized as the Solar New Year. Vaisakhi was also a festival before it became an important celebration for the Sikh community.
How To Use Sikh Heritage Picture Books in the Classroom
- Stations – Gather a few of the books mentioned in this blog post (or others you have in your collection) and have students rotate through each station and complete a graphic organizer about their learning. Here are some examples of graphic organizers – Set 1 or Set 2.
- Read Alouds – Incorporate these books into your read-aloud schedule not just for April but throughout the year.
- Biography Study – Have students select an important and/or influential person to learn about. Then have them complete this Biography Symbolism Assignment to showcase their learning to the class. Students will read a biography, memoir, or autobiography and then create a life map outlining the important events in their chosen person’s life. After creating the life map students will provide a written explanation and oral presentation of their life map.
Books to Celebrate Sikh Heritage Month & Learn More About Sikh Culture
The Guru Inside Me Says by Ratika Seehra
This book is an introduction to the ten Sikh gurus and their teachings.
We Are Sikhs by Simarjeet Kaur Sandhu
This is the third book in the Simran and Sehaj series. It offers a primer on the Sikh religion and traditions.
The Five-Fingered Family by Shakta Kaur Khalsa
A retelling of an ancient Punjabi tale, this is the story of family and how there is strength in sticking together when forces try to tear a family apart.
Fauja Singh Keeps Going by Simran Jeet Singh
The story of the first 100-year-old man to run a marathon, despite the fact that he started with a body that would not let him walk. This is a story of strength and perseverance.
One Amazing Sikh At a Time by Seerat Kaur Gill
Stories of the lives of various Sikhs who have made a difference in their communities.
Sikh Heritage Month Videos
- Heritage Minute: Paldi
- Sikh Heritage Month in Canada “Our Story is a Canadian Story”
- Sikh Heritage Month – Revive Films
Links to Learn More About Sikh Heritage Month
- Learn more about the Heritage Minute: Paldi in this CBC article New Heritage Minute profile of B.C. town highlights history of South Asian Canadians for first time
- Let’s celebrate Vaisakhi
- What is Vaisakhi, or Baisakhi and how is it celebrated?
- Official Website by the Sikh Heritage Month Foundation
- Sikh Heritage Month Act on the Canada Justice Laws Website
- ‘This is my heritage’: Permanent Sikh history exhibit opens in Ottawa
- Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada (Educational Resources)
- Ontario Sikhs and Gurdwara Council
Additional Holiday Resources
This Article of the Week Non-Fiction Articles Holidays Bundle contains 13 non-fiction articles and post-reading activities to assist with reading comprehension and cross-curricular learning.
- 13 high-interest non-fiction articles
- 3 post-reading activities per article
- 7 Reading Strategies graphic organizers
- 5 Summarizing graphic organizers
- Chinese New Year
- Groundhog Day
- Valentine’s Day
- Daylight Savings
- St. Patrick’s Day
- April Fools’ Day
- Earth Day