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Annual Vaisakhi celebrations begin on Thursday

PUBLISHED: 10:40 11 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:40 11 April 2017

Shinda

Shinda

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Traditionally, Vaisakhi marked the spring harvest for the farmers and communities in Punjab Northern India

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Preparations are at an advanced stage for the annual Vaisakhi celebrations in Gravesham.

Historically Vaisakhi marked the spring harvest for farmers and communities in Punjab Northern India where some of the Sikh’s in Gravesham originate from.

In 1699 on Vaisakhi Day the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh Ji established the Khalsa Panth (the community of committed Sikhs) and created the faith as it is practiced today.

This year’s festivities will begin with Vaisakhi On The Square taking place on April 13 on the Community Square between 11am to 1pm.

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The celebration will begin with the raising of the Sikh flag followed by prayers and a short programme of entertainment.

Vegetarian Indian food will be distributed to all in attendance free of charge.

Festivities will continue on Easter Saturday with celebrations taking place both through the Town Centre and also on the Guru Nanak Sports Field on Trinity Road.

The centre piece of the celebrations will be the Nagar Kirtan procession which is due to start from the Gurdwara at 12pm passing through the town centre - along Saddington Street, The Grove, Milton Road, King Street, Garrick Street, Darnley Road, Arthur Street, Wrotham Road, Zion Place, Windmill Street, Clarence Place, Parrock Road and Wellington Street.

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The procession is expected to return at about 2.30pm.

Once the Nagar Kirtan finishes there will be an open air community celebration on the Guru Nanak Sports Field which will include a funfair, Sikh martial arts, interactive activities for children, information stands, food stalls and a stage programme where religious songs will be performed by internationally renowned artist Sukshinder Shinda.

Sukshinder Shinda’s prolific career as a successful bhangra singer-songwriter and producer spans over 20 years and 200 albums including his dharmik (spiritual) albums Satguru Mera and Choj Khalseh De Dharam Seva.

The main religious service in the Gurdwara to celebrate Vaisakhi will be held on Sunday morning.

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Davinder Singh Bains, the president of the Guru Nanak Darbar Gurdwara, said: “On behalf of the Management Committee I would like to invite all the residents of Gravesham to attend the festivities which will be taking place at the Gurdwara and in the Town Centre.

“The Sikh community has a long and proud history here in Gravesham and we always welcome and appreciate the support of all our partners and the local community in making Vaisakhi such a colourful and inclusive spectacle for all to enjoy.”

Gurvinder Sandher, CEO of Kent Equality Cohesion Council, who has been working with the Guru Nanak Darbar Management Committee to organise the festivities, said: “The Vaisakhi celebrations in Gravesham are some of the biggest in the country and it is a great testament for all concerned that they have evolved from just being a Sikh celebration to one involving all communities regardless of faith.

“With recent atrocities still fresh in our minds Vaisakhi is a wonderful example of how faith can bring diverse communities together to celebrate as one all that binds us together as a community in Gravesham.”

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