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The Sikh community celebrates Vaisakhi Festival in Nottingham with pomp and style

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It was marked with pomp, colour and grandeurthe celebrations were apt and oozed precision as everyone in attendance looked the part – while everything symbolised significance, and divinity.

A deep-seated vibrancy and a merry-go-round mood dictated the eventful day’s happenstances as the procession took centre-stage in grand style.

Communities in Nottingham joined hands and shared great times together as one in celebrating one of the most important dates in the Sikh spiritual calendar.

The Sikh faithful accompanied by throngs of people on Sunday from all walks of life gathered in Basford, Notthingham for the first time after the Covid-19 pandemic, to celebrate the Vaisakhi Festival.

Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi as creation of the Khalsa, not as the Sikh new year or harvest festival.

The Sikh community celebrating Vaisakhi spiritual feastival: Photo taken by Peter Makossah

Roads were temporarily closed as residents lined up onto the streets as they took part in the traditional Nagar Kirtans procession.

On the day, the Nagar Kirtan was led by the Sikh scriptual Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and five Five Khalsa (Panj Pyare) representing the spirit and body of the Guru and the procession walked to all the seven Gurdwaras in Nottingham.

The spring festival, which happens in April every year, is a day to celebrate 1699 – the year when Sikhism was born as a collective faith.

To celebrate Vaisakhi, Sikhs visit places of worship called Gudwaras and enjoy parades and special processions.

In an interview with Mojatu Online, during the procession, one senior official at the Basford Gurdwara, Papadeep Singh said Vaisakhi is celebrated on the first day of Vaisakhi, the second month in the Indian national calendar.

He said: “This month is known as Vaisakhi in the Hindu calendar, where it is the first month of the year.

“The date is determined by the solar calendar and marks the sun’s entry into the sign of Aries after leaving Pisces.

“On Friday, the exact time for this calendar event, known as the Vaisakhi Sankranti Moment, is 3.12pm.”

Singh said he was pleased that a lot of people from all walks of life and diverse backgrounds came out and supported them celebrate the Vaisakhi Festival.

Sikh elders on the Vaisakhi march – Photo by Peter Makossah

“Nottingham is cultural and religious melting pot of gold where we all coexist. We are very grateful for the support we got from the community,” said Singh.

Cities across the world with large Sikh populations usually hold large public events to mark Vaisakhi.

Sikh communities traditionally celebrate with processions called nagar kirtan – which means town or neighbourhood hymn-singing.

As well as signalling the start of a new lunar year, the festival also has an important religious significance.

On parade: Pictures of the Guru was a permanent feature during the procession. Photo by Peter Makossah

Hindus believe it is the day when river goddess Ganga descended to Earth from heaven.

Vaisakhi is celebrated with prayers, processions and the raising of the Nishan Sahib flag, which has significance within Sikh communities.

Indeed, it is the most important festival within the Sikh faith and five members will dress up as the Panj Piare.

Ramadeep Kaur Singh, a Sikh faithful from St. Ann’s Gurdwara, but came to Basford for the celebrations, said:

“Today is a very special day for me and my family as we celebrate our spirituality as we mark the Vaisakhi festivity with pomp, colour and style.”

On procession: Photo by Peter Makossah

Nottingham is cultural and religious melting pot of gold where we all coexist. We are very grateful for the support we got from the community.”

Papadeep Singh
Senior official at the Basford Gurdwara

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