11 ATS students who are part of the Bhangra Dance Team ATS Bhangra Dance Team

Bhangra Beats Bring Traditional Schools Together in Celebration of Vaisakhi (PHOTOS)

May 3, 2024

Students and staff at Abbotsford School District's traditional schools experienced a vibrant display of culture and community this April as a Bhangra dance team and Dohl drummer from Abbotsford Traditional School (ATS) toured our traditional elementary schools. Performances were part of an initiative to celebrate Vaisakhi, while also fostering stronger connections among our traditional schools.

In the weeks leading up to the performances, Bhangra dancing was integrated into the PE classes at the elementary level, preparing students to be active participants in the festivities. Each schoolwide assembly included segments that educated students about Vaisakhi, explaining why this festival is celebrated and its significance to the Sikh and Hindu cultures. The finale of this initiative was a collaborative performance at Abbotsford Traditional School on April 12, where teams from King Traditional and South Poplar Traditional dazzled their ATS peers with their dance skills. The energetic performances were met with loud cheers and applause. The lively atmosphere continued as several ATS staff members joined with a dance, led by a few ATS students, showcasing a spirited collaboration that further energized the crowd. Following the performances, the ATS Parent Advisory Council (PAC) provided lunch for students, staff, and families. This gesture of hospitality not only nurtured the body but also further strengthened the bonds among our traditional schools, enhancing the spirit of community and shared celebration.

"To build community among our traditional schools in the district, we have gathered for numerous sporting events over the last few years," said Reg Gabriel, Principal of Abbotsford Traditional School. "This year, to celebrate culture and continue to develop those bonds, we are sharing our talents as Bhangra dancers and learning more about the culture to celebrate Vaisakhi."

The celebration provided an educational opportunity for students to learn about and engage with a cultural tradition, enhancing their understanding of diversity and inclusion. The ATS Bhangra dance team and Dohl drummer performances not only showcased their skills but also demonstrated their commitment to sharing their heritage with their peers. This initiative embodies the district's dedication to fostering an inclusive educational atmosphere that honours and elevates the diverse cultures, languages, and backgrounds of every student, ensuring they feel valued, understood, and supported.

About Vaisaki
Vaisakhi, also known as Baisakhi, is a festive event celebrated each April by the Sikh and Hindu communities, marking the advent of the solar new year and the spring harvest. For Sikhs, this festival commemorates the formation of the Khalsa by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699, a brotherhood committed to the principles of Sikhism. For Hindus, Vaisakhi is a time of religious observance and temple festivities, celebrating the seasonal cycle of life. In both traditions, Vaisakhi is marked by colourful processions, traditional music and dance such as Bhangra, and community feasts, reflecting shared values of unity, equality, and cultural appreciation.