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HomeEntertainmentGravesend Enjoys Vaisakhi Festival

Gravesend Enjoys Vaisakhi Festival

Last Saturday people in Gravesend enjoyed the Vaisakhi Festival.

The High Street was closed as the procession of people and floats made their way along the road.

Gravesend has a high number of Sikhs and the festival is a great way to learn more about Sikh culture.

Some Sikhs marching in the procession

Vaisakhi, also pronounced Baisakhi, marks the first day of the month of Vaisakh and is traditionally celebrated annually on 13 April and sometimes 14 April as a celebration of spring harvest primarily in Northern India. Further, other Indian cultures and diaspora celebrate this festival too. Whilst it is culturally significant as a festival of harvest, some also consider Vaisakhi to be the legitimate date for the Indian Solar New Year.

For Sikhs, in addition to its significance as the harvest festival, during which Sikhs hold kirtans, visit local Gurdwaras, community fairs, hold nagar kirtan processions, raise the Nishan Sahib flag, and gather to socialize and share festive foods.

Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi by going to the Gurdwara in the morning for a service. Afterwards, they have a procession through the streets with lots of singing, chanting and colourful clothes. The procession is called the Nagar Kirtan. In the evening, Sikhs have a special meal with family and friends.

This year there was also a festival held in Trafalgar Square in London, where visitors enjoyed free light bites and Indian tea (Langar), demonstrations of martial arts (Gatka), entertainment and a display of Sikh art.

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