Vaisakhi 2021 Vaisakhi 2021 for as Sikh … lockdown community celebrates in Happy
Tue, 13 Apr 2021 09:00:00 +0100
The ongoing third national lockdown means the traditional processions and festivals still can't go ahead this year in the Midlands or elsewhere in the UK
The ongoing third national lockdown means the traditional processions and festivals still can’t go ahead this year in the Midlands or elsewhere in the UK
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Vaisakhi is here and there will be small-scale celebrations for Sikh communities in Birmingham and across the UK and the rest of the world.
Amid an ongoing third national lockdown in England, the traditional public processions and big festivals cannot take place.
It means around half a million Sikhs across the UK, including over 30,000 in Birmingham, are experiencing a second Vaisakhi under lockdown rules.
But, unlike the first lockdown in 2020, temples are open this time so communal worship is allowed with limited numbers and social distancing.
The festival of Vaisakhi typically takes place on April 13 or 14 each year.
This year it has been confirmed by the Indian Government to be on Tuesday, April 13.
It was on this day that the Khalsa – the brotherhood of the Sikh faith – was founded back in 1699.
Sikhism itself had been established earlier, in 1469, but the Sikhs began to suffer religious persecution in the 17th century, including the execution of spiritual leaders.
In response to that, a meeting was called on this day in 1699 and the order of the Khalsa was set up – led by the Five Beloved Ones – to make a stand against oppression.
Followers of Sikhism are initiated into the order with a baptism in which men take the title Singh (meaning lion) and women the title Kaur (princess).
As well as the initiation ceremony, the Khalsa way of life includes rules of conduct and a dress code.
The Council of Sikh Gurdwaras Birmingham runs an annual radio station called Radio Vaisakhi for four weeks every April and usually also hosts the largest outdoor Vaisakhi celebrations outside India with over 96,000 people from all over the country attending.
A spokesperson for the Council of Sikh Gurdwaras Birmingham today told Birmingham Live: "Happy Vaisakhi to all.
All Sikh temples are respecting the Government guidelines and keeping attendance to the requirements.
It’s not the same as other years but we must all be safe.
"On Soho Road, Handsworth, we have Midland Langar Seva Society – a mobile food kitchen bus – feeding the general public walking past to celebrate Vaisakhi in association with the Soho BID."
In normal circumstances, Sikh communities celebrate with processions called nagar kirtan – which means town/neighbourhood hymn singing.
The processions are led by five Sikhs in ceremonial dress representing the Punj Pyare (Beloved Ones) and include Dohl drummers, performers of Gatka (a Sikh martial art) and floats carrying women and spiritual leaders who are chanting prayers and singing hymns.
Hundreds of people walk behind and line the streets, many of them chanting and singing.
Each year, Birmingham traditionally has two processions – one from Hockley and one from Smethwick – making their way to a festival site in Handsworth Park where a huge mela takes place.
This has all been cancelled for 2021 due to coronavirus restrictions.
In addition, the Sikhs of Sutton Coldfield usually hold an event too.
Yellow and orange are the traditional colours of Vaisakhi, according to World Sikh.
They represent the spirit of rebirth and sacrifice of the Punj Pyare but are also a colour of joy and celebration.
And when Vaisakhi is celebrated in Punjab, the golden yellow wheat fields are ready to be harvested.
Despite widespread misconceptions, Vaisakhi is not the Sikh New Year.
That takes place a month earlier.
Sikh New Year fell on March 14, the start of the month of Chet, the first in the Nanakshahi Calendar.
However, Vaisakhi does fall at the same time as Pohela Boishakh, the new year in the Bikrami Calendar followed in Bangladesh and the Indian states of West Bengal, Tripura and Assam.
Vaisakhi is also observed by Hindu worshippers as a harvest festival.
For Hindus, it's a time of prayers, fairs and bathing in sacred rivers, as they believe that the river goddess Ganga – the personification of the revered Ganges river – descended to earth on Vaisakhi.
Vaisakhi 2021 Vaisakhi 2021
Tue, 13 Apr 2021 09:00:00 +0100
Vaisakhi celebrations usually feature parades, religious hymns and special food
Many people around the world will celebrate Vaisakhi today.
The Sikh and Hindu festival has historic roots and is celebrated by many communities around the world.
Here is when Vaisakhi takes place, the meaning behind the festival and how it is celebrated.
Vaisakhi takes place on 13 April this year.
It usually falls on 13 or 14 April every year.
Vaiskahi, also known as Baisakhi, is celebrated by Sikhs around the world and is also a festival in Hinduism
For Hindus, Vaisakhi marks an ancient harvest festival and the solar new year.
It also marks when Sikhism was born as a collective faith in 1699, when the Khalsa was founded.
The Khalsa means initiated Sikhs, but also those who consider Sikhism a faith.
The first Khalsa, which took place under Guru Gobind Singh, was a ceremony known as Amrit Sanchar.
It saw five men step forward when he asked for volunteers who were willing to give their lives for God.
But they returned unharmed and instead had been baptised and became known as the Panj Pyare, or the Beloved Five.
As part of the occasion, the Guru sprinkled a holy water known as Amrit on the five men.
People often visit temples or gurdwaras on Vaisakhi, were special services take place.
They also gather together to celebrate with singing, dancing, hymns and special food often making up part of the occasion.
In usual times, before Covid-19, Vaisakhi celebrations would traditionally feature parades, which were held in many places the world.
Processions known as Nagar Kirtan usually take place, which includes the singing of holy hymns and usually features five people dressed in religious attire representing the Panj Pyare.
The Sikh holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib, is usually raised on a platform leading the parade, to signify its importance.
In the UK, large-scale events usually take place across the country including performances and gatherings at Trafalgar Square in London, but due to Covid-19, many events including this one won’t go ahead for a second year running.
Events would also usually include performances by Sikh artists, dances, food stalls and more, with smaller community fairs often taking place around the country.
© 2021 Associated Newspapers Limited.
– April 13, 2021
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