Vaisakhi is a Sikh festival commemorating the creation of the Khalsa Panth, the inner core of the Sikh faith.
When is it celebrated?
Vaisakhi usually occurs on the 13th or 14th of April each year. In 2019, Vaisakhi is being celebrated on Sunday 14th April.
What is the religious significance?
The Khalsa tradition was created in 1699 by the tenth guru of the Sikh faith, Guru Gobind Singh. The warriors were initiated partially as a response to the beheading of the 10th Guru’s father under the rule of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, for attempting to resist the persecution of non-Muslims. The warriors were tasked with, among other duties, the safeguarding of freedom of religion and protecting against the persecution of minority communities.
How is it celebrated?
There are many joyous, colourful celebrations which take place throughout the day:
- Gurdwaras (Sikh places of worship) are decorated and visited.
- Kirtan, the singing of hymns from the Sikh holy scriptures, is practiced.
- Nagar Kirtan processions occur (nagar meaning town) where Sikhs dress in traditional clothing and recite Kirtan as they proceed along the streets. The Guru Grath Sahib (a book of Sikh scriptures) is displayed prominently and carried along within the procession.
How is Vaisakhi celebrated in the UK?
Vaisakhi is celebrated vibrantly in Gurdwaras across the UK. In London, a large Vaisakhi celebration is held in Trafalgar Square each year, and this year it will be taking place on Saturday 27th April.
Common greetings during Vaisakhi relate to the desire to flourish and fulfill wishes for the year ahead. For example:
- “Hundreds of thousands of congratulations for the occasion of Vaisakhi.”
- “How great, how great is Gobind Singh Ji. He is both Guru and disciple.”
- “The Khalsa belongs to the Almighty. The victory belongs to the Almighty.”
- “Wishing you a very happy Vaisakhi. May the Almighty grant you with many blessings.”
Happy Vaisakhi to all of our Sikh friends!