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Vaisakhi procession

Vaisakhi procession
Vaisakhi procession

by Thom Morris


Celebrations of the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi in Gravesend will reach a peak this weekend with a colourful parade through the town.

The popular procession will wind its way through the streets on Saturday followed by a service, called gurpurb, at the gurdwara on Sunday.

Vaisakhi is the Sikh New Year festival and also commemorates 1699, the year Sikhism became a collective faith.

The festival is marked with nagar kirtan processions – nagar means town and kirtan means the singing of hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book.

The procession is expected to be attended by about 5,000 people, setting off from the gurdwara, passing through the town centre - along Saddington Street, The Grove, Milton Road, King Street, New Road, Darnley Road, Arthur Street, Wrotham Road, Zion Place, Windmill Street, Clarence Place, Parrock Road and Wellington Street.

Flags will be waved as the congregation walk the route, followed by colourfully decorated floats.

Sikh martial arts, known as gatka, will be demonstrated by the Baba Fateh Singh Gatka Akhara after the procession has returned to the gurdwara.

The religious part of the procession will be followed by groups including dancers Jugnu Bhangra Group, Four by Four Bhangra Group, Lethal Soundz, Guru Nanak Football Club and children from schools in the borough.

The procession leaves the gurdwara at 11.30am, and is expected to return at about 2.30pm.

Organiser Jagdev Virdee said: “Everyone is welcome to join the procession or to watch it.

“The main religious service in the gurdwara to celebrate Vaisakhi will be held on Sunday and everyone is welcome to come to the gurdwara on Sunday to celebrate Vaisakhi.”

  • For pictures, see next week’s Gravesend Messenger.
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