Vaisakhi Celebrations Attended by Thousands
Thousands attended the annual Sikh religious celebration of Vaisakhi over the weekend Historically Vaisakhi marked the spring harvest in Punjab in Northern India where most Sikh’s in Gravesham come from, 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 practiced today.
The centre piece of the celebrations was the Nagar Kirtan procession (nagar means town and kirtan means the singing of hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book) on Saturday. Led by religious floats and also involving community floats including Lethal Soundz, Guru Nanak Punjabi School, Kent Kirtan Society, Four by Four Bhangra, Jugnu Bhangra and Guru Nanak Football Club.
The parade started on the grounds of the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara before going through the Town Centre where it was well received by members of the public who stopped to see the colorful spectacle and enjoyed free donations (seva) of food and drink as the procession passed. Following a short stop for prayers at the Guru Ravidass Gurdwara the procession headed back to the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara where the congregation was joined by Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha Cameron on Wellington Street before the Nagar Kirtan entered the Gurdwara complex. Once the prayers had been completed outside the Prime Minister addressed members of the congregation inside while outside there was an open air community celebration on the Guru Nanak Sports Field which included a fun fair, Sikh martial arts and information stands.
The religious stage programme was headlined by Sukshinder Shinda an internationally renowned artist who performed from his recently released religious album “Langar” During the course of the event thousands also enjoyed free food and refreshments which was served by local caterers.
The celebrations concluded on the Sunday at the Gurdwara where prayers were read and donations made for the up keep of the running of the Gurdwara. Throughout the services thousands again attended rounding off a memorable weekend.
Gurvinder Sandher the CEO of Kent Equality Cohesion Council commented “I am so pleased that the months of planning for the Nagar Kirtan and the open air community celebration paid off. None of this would have been possible without the help of a team of community volunteers and the support of Gravesham Borough Council, Kent Police and Kent Highways for which I am grateful. The Vaisakhi celebrations have evolved from being just for the Sikh community to one where Gravesham comes together as one, something which everyone should be very proud off.”