So much for having Easter weekend off, but when so many interesting things are happening locally it’s hard not to get drawn in!
This afternoon we went out and followed the Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan. I’d heard about the celebration in previous years but always after the fact and I’ve never really known what it was about so this year with advance notice from our local Police Sergeant, Simon Causer we went along and learned.
James filmed local resident and fellow Community First Panel Member for the WV11 website who also then hung about with me while waiting for his wife to pass by on a float filling me in on the celebration.
This is what I learned.
Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi as the day of the formation of the Khalsa (the pure one). On the day, in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh (the tenth Sikh Guru) established the Khalsa and eliminated the differences of high and low and established that all human beings are equal.
Nagar Kirtan is a procession through the community. Orange Fabric marks the route the Nagar Kirtan will take.
The road before the procession is cleared by Sewadars – volunteers who literally swept the road clean.
The procession is led by the saffron-robed Panj Piare (the five beloved of the Guru), These 5 represent the first 5 Sikhs.
The 5 Panj Piare are followed by the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy Sikh scripture, which is placed on a float.
Food is handed out from the procession and from temples and other points along the route, Any one who attends is fed Sikh or otherwise – I was offered something but with my camera in hand I politely declined. Everyone in the community was included, Sgt Simon Causer from Wednesfield Police said to WV11
— Wednesfield South (@WednesfieldS) April 8, 2012
We had been invited into the temple by Paul and another local we spoke to but we stayed back – sensitive to the cultural celebration we didn’t want to impose especially as I didn’t have a head dress and with thousands of people milling around we’d lost sight if anyone we knew to ask what was appropriate however it was a loud and colourful day and a great way to learn about another side of our community!