Mayor announces details of London’s spectacular Vaisakhi celebrations
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has announced that the capital’s Vaisakhi celebrations will take place in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 22nd April.
Vaisakhi is the biggest festival in the Sikh calendar and celebrates Sikh and Punjabi tradition, heritage, culture and the birth of the Khalsa (modern day Sikhism).
From noon – 6pm, visitors can enjoy a feast of Sikh and Punjabi tradition and culture, co-hosted by DJ and presenter Tommy Sandhu and comedian and playwright Sukh Ojla.
From music, art performances and turban tying demonstrations to traditional food, kids activities and educational talks, there will be something for everyone.
The fantastic programme of entertainment includes performances from Manika Kaur, the leading contemporary performer of Sikh Kirtan music, Amrit Kaur, named a BBC Asian Network Future Sounds 2020 Artist, and Dal Singh known as The ‘TablaJedi’.
Baba Fateh Singh Gatka Akhara will perform a Sikh martial art named Gatka, an intense artform and a spectacle to watch. The performers will be accompanied by the Dhol Academy, one of the longest-running Dhol establishments in the UK, who will provide the soundtrack to the demonstrations, utilising different rhythms to enhance the atmosphere and build up the intensity.
Visitors can enjoy an array of free light bites and traditional Indian tea over the course of the afternoon. The giving of free food promotes the concept of Langar with free meals served to all, regardless of religion, ethnicity, or economic status. Gurdwaras from all around London are contributing Langar to the day with London’s Sikh homeless charity, SEVA, distributing the free food.
Renowned head chef Manpreet Singh will also be on hand for cooking demonstrations of Sikh dishes traditionally offered, along with nutritional talks from Juggy Sidhu.
The UK’s first ever Sikh Games will take place in August and visitors will have the opportunity to meet the team and participate in some fun sporting activities of Gatka, boxing, and powerlifting.
There will also be a Sikh art exhibition, turban tying by Chardikala Turban Academy, educational talks on ‘What is Vaiskahi’ by Basics of Sikhi, as well as a children’s marquee with free fun activities for families organised by Sikh Colouring.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “I am delighted to once again welcome back Londoners and visitors to Trafalgar Square for our Vaisakhi celebrations – a time for celebration and reflection of the founding of the Sikh faith. Diversity is London’s greatest strength and this festival is a wonderful opportunity to showcase the richness of Sikh and Punjabi culture in the centre of our capital, as we continue to build a better London for everyone.”