Project Administrator Jas tells us what Vaisakhi means to her
Today is Vaisakhi, a celebration of the birth of Sikhism. Vaisakhi is usually celebrated in Bradford by a Nagar Kirtan procession, which will sadly not take place this year due to continued restrictions.
Jas, Project Administrator on the Loneliness Fund Project, tells us what Vaisakhi means to her and how she will celebrate this year.
To me, Vaisakhi is a chance to reflect on my ancestry and faith and is very spiritual. It is a celebration of the birth of the Sikh faith and its identifiable features. It is really a coming together and welcomes anyone regardless of faith.
“It is very colourful and inclusive. There is also a bus that normally runs to allow the elderly or anyone with poor mobility or a disability to join in. There is free vegetarian food and snacks for all along the Vaisakhi walk (Nagar Kirtan) which is donated by Sikhs all over Bradford. This is a nod to the ‘Langar’ (free kitchen) that is available in all Gurdwaras. The walk connects all the Gurdwaras in Bradford and tends to start at a different Gurdwara each year. There is religious hymns and music and sometimes a martial arts display of ‘Gatka’ by people trained in the spiritual martial art. It is often a chance to see old family friends. I have often invited friends of other faiths to enjoy the experience. The Nagar Kirtan that Sikhs take part in each year is very much a religious walk. It is also a way of bringing people of any background together.
“The most prominent colour you will notice at Vaisakhi is saffron but generally people will be dressed in a vast array of colours. There is often a speech from either a member of the police or the Lord Mayor, especially at the start of the procession. We will start with a prayer ‘Ardas’ and end with a prayer to close proceedings. The hope is that the sun will come out but even when it rains it is very well attended and enjoyed. Although Vaisakhi is generally celebrated on 14 April the procession tends to take place on a Sunday so as not to interrupt traffic in Bradford.
The Nagar Kirtan was sorely missed last year as it will be this year. We will celebrate by prayer and if it is open we will visit the Gurdwara. As Sangat (congregation) is a very important part of Sikhism.
Posted on: 13th April 2021