Vaisakhi 2023 Sikh festival: Trafalgar Square celebrations to return

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Vaisakhi Festival — a celebration of Sikh and Punjabi culture — returns to Trafalgar Square this April.

The Sikh community in London will celebrate the holy Sikh festival of Vaisakhi in Trafalgar Square this April.

Vaisakhi celebrates the birth of the Khalsa - the day Sikhism was born as a collective faith.

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The festival is usually celebrated on April 13 or 14 and is seen as a celebration of spring harvest primarily in Northern India.

On Saturday April 22, a free celebration event will take place in Trafalgar Square co-hosted by comedians Tommy Sandhu and Sukh Ojla.

Vaisakhi  celebrations in Trafalgar Square. Credit: Getty ImagesVaisakhi  celebrations in Trafalgar Square. Credit: Getty Images
Vaisakhi celebrations in Trafalgar Square. Credit: Getty Images | AFP via Getty Images

The programme will include performances from Sikh solo artist Manika Kaur, Punjabi folk and soul artist Amrit Kaur and tabla player Dal Singh known as The ‘TablaJedi’.

Other highlights include a Sikh art exhibition, turban tying by Chardikala Turban Academy educational talks on ‘What is Vaiskahi’ by Basics of Sikhi and a children’s marquee with free fun activities for families organised by Sikh Colouring.

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Free light bites and Indian tea (langar) will also be provided as well as cooking demonstrations from head chef Manpreet Singh.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: “Here in London the Sikh community makes a massive contribution to making London the greatest city in the world.

“One of the great things about London is we don’t just tolerate difference, we embrace it, we respect it, and we celebrate it.”

What is Vaisakhi?

Vaisakhi commemorates the inauguration of the Khalsa in the late 17th century, a term used for Sikhs who have been initiated or baptised.

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The inaugural Khalsa was formed in order to take a stand against the religious oppression Sikhs were facing at the time.

The first baptism of the Khalsa, a ceremony called Amrit Sanchar, took place in 1699 during Vaisakhi under the guidance of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh guru.

During Vaisakhi, processions called Nagar Keertan are led by five Khalsa.

The Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book, is carried along the procession.

Earlier this month the Sikh community in Southall hosted its annual Vaisakhi procession.

Vaisakhi celebrations in Trafalgar Square will take place on Saturday April 22 between 12pm and 6pm.

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