A parade was held in Burnaby, British Columbia organized by Sikhs to honour the "revolutionary saint" Shri Guru Ravidass. You can read about it here. Now, I would have ignored this but the fact the the event organizers planned it for March 15, 2008 got me thinking. The March 15th weekend is the weekend before St. Patrick's day which is on the 17th and as we all know you can always expect a parade to mark the day along with green beer and bad fake Irish accents.
There are 365 days in the year. There are 52 weekends. Why did the Sikh parade organizers decide on the weekend of St. Patrick's day? Bad planning? Ignorance? Please. I am sure these Sikhs have been in Canada long enough to know that March 17th is St. Patrick's day and the celebration of all things Irish which essentially means stereotyping the Irish as drunken louts. And if they honestly didn't know, which is highly unlikely, they could have consulted their calendar. You know, the one they used to decide which day to have a parade, that marks March 17th as St. Patrick's day in very clear bold lettering.
I get the suspicion that this Sikh parade was deliberately planned to coincide with St. Patrick's day to either piggy back off the popularity of St. Patty's day or to directly compete with it. St. Patrick's day honours a Christian Saint. The Sikhs honoured a Sikh saint. Parades mark the arrival of St. Patrick's day on March 17th. The Sikhs had a parade to honour their Saint on March 15th. St. Patrick's day is an event marked on calenders across the Anglo-sphere. The Sikhs, well I guess they're working on it and if their parade is meant to be an annual event then I imagine they are gunning for March 15th, two day before the day of St. Patrick.
I don't really care for St. Patrick's day. I don't consider St. Patrick's day a Canadian event. It's just an excuse to get drunk from what I can tell. But the Irish are part of the founding/settler people of Canada so I suppose St. Patrick's day does have a place. Sikhs, and South Asians as a people, are not founding/settlers. In fact, they are still a foreign people where almost 75% of South Asian Canadians are immigrants, which means they are just South Asians with Canadian citizenship that's all. But they can have their parades to honour their religious figures if they want so why plan one to coincide with St. Patrick's day when there are 51 other weekends to choose from?
If this is an act of cultural aggression, which I suspect it is, then we can expect more of this kind of behaviour in a future Canada where multicultural dialogue means competition for public attention. In this kind of Canada real Canadian history is forgotten and any real Canadian identity is erased to give way to histories and cultures formed abroad. In effect Canada ceases to exist as a real country.