KECC have been working over the past few months with Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara on the organisation of the annual Vaisakhi celebrations in Gravesham. Historically Vaisakhi marked the spring harvest for farmers and communities in Punjab Northern India where most of the Sikh’s in Gravesham originate from. Furthermore in 1699 on Vaisakhi Day the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh Ji established the Khalsa Panth (the community of committed Sikhs) and created the faith as it is practised today.

This year’s festivities will officially kick off with ‘Vaisakhi on the Square’ taking place on Thursday April 13 on the Community Square between 11am to 1pm. The celebration will begin with the raising of the Sikh flag followed by prayers and a short program of entertainment.

Festivities will continue on Easter Saturday with celebrations taking place both through the Town Centre and also on the Guru Nanak Sports Field on Trinity Road.  The centre piece of the celebrations will be the Nagar Kirtan procession (nagar means town and kirtan means the singing of hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book) which is due to start from the Gurdwara at 12pm passing through the town centre – along Saddington Street, The Grove, Milton Road, King Street, Garrick Street, Darnley Road, Arthur Street, Wrotham Road, Zion Place, Windmill Street, Clarence Place, Parrock Road and Wellington Street. The procession is expected to return at about 2.30pm.

Once the Nagar Kirtan finishes there will be an open air community celebration on the Guru Nanak Sports Field which will include a funfair, Sikh martial arts, interactive activities for children, information stands, food stalls and a stage programme where religious songs will be performed by internationally renowned artist Sukshinder Shinda.

The main religious service in the Gurdwara to celebrate Vaisakhi will be held on Sunday morning.

Gurvinder Sandher CEO of Kent Equality Cohesion Council who has been working with the Guru Nanak Darbar Management Committee to organise the festivities said “The Vaisakhi celebrations in Gravesham are some of the biggest in the Country and it is a great testament for all concerned that they have evolved from just being a Sikh celebration to one involving all communities regardless of faith.  With recent atrocities still fresh in our minds Vaisakhi is a wonderful example of how faith can bring diverse communities together to celebrate as one all that binds us together as a community in Gravesham”