Calgary Sikhs celebrate founder's 550th birthday

Tens of thousands of Calgarians have been celebrating Guru Nanak’s 550th birthday today.

Guru Nanak was the founder of Sikhism

Celebrations take place Tuesday afternoon at the Dashmesh Culture Centre, a Sikh temple in northeast Calgary. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

Tens of thousands of Calgarians have been celebrating Guru Nanak's 550th birthday Tuesday.

Guru Nanak was the founder and first guru of the Sikh faith, born in 1469.

Up to 30,000 Sikhs were expected to take part in celebrations throughout the day and evening at the Dashmesh Culture Centre in northeast Calgary.

Amanpreet Singh Gill with the Dashmesh Culture Centre says Guru Nanak chose to embrace all faiths that have universal applicability and validity for all time to come. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

Sikhism is one of the world's youngest religions with around 30 million followers worldwide. In India Guru Nanak's birth anniversary is a public holiday.

"His teachings were that he spoke of one God, universal brotherhood, love, humility, simplicity, equality and tolerance," said Amanpreet Singh Gill, president of the Dashmesh Culture Centre.

"He didn't restrict himself to one religion. He chose to embrace all the good teachings of all the faiths," said Gill.

"It's very special for us. He taught us about humanity, love, equality and how to respect women," said Amandeep Kaur Tumber. 

Sikhs line up for food at the Dashmesh Culture Centre in northeast Calgary as they gather to mark the 550th birthday of Guru Nanak. (Dan McGarvey/CBC)

As well as religious celebrations and food for worshippers, organizers are hosting a food drive for the veterans food bank.

"We welcome everyone to donate food and these items will be given to the food bank in honour of Guru Nanak," said Gill.

The celebrations conclude with a fireworks display Tuesday evening.

About the Author

Dan McGarvey


Dan McGarvey is a mobile journalist focused on filing stories remotely for CBC Calgary’s web, radio, TV and social media platforms, only using an iPhone and mobile tech. You can email story ideas and tips to Dan at: or tweet him @DanMcGarvey