Coventry Nagar Kirtan Attracts 8,000 Sikhs Celebrating Vaisakhi

April 27, 2009

Author: Jenny Waddington

Source: Coventry Telegraph

Thousands of Sikhs took to the streets of Coventry yesterday to mark one of the most significant events in their calendar – their new year festival of Vaisakhi.

Brightly coloured floats and about 8,000 people formed a procession to celebrate the day, which marks an ancient harvest festival commemorating the founding of the Sikh brotherhood – the Khalsa.

The 310th year of Sikhism was celebrated with a ceremony starting at the city’s Guru Nanak Parkash Gurdwara Sikh temple in Harnall Lane West.

Thousands of people congregated outside to watch as the Guru Grath Sahib – the Sikh holy book – was carried out of the temple and placed into a vehicle, decorated with bright flowers, to lead the procession – called the Nagar Kirtan – through the city.

A ceremony was then held to celebrate the Beloved Five, who form the basis of the Sikh baptism ceremony, after being baptised into the Khalsa – which means the Pure Ones – by the tenth guru in 1699.

Thousands watched as prayers were said and hundreds of orange and blue balloons, the traditional colours of the harvest and the Sikh flag, were released.