Vibrant Vaisakhi 2012

One of the world’s largest Vaisakhi celebrations will be returning to Handsworth Park on Sunday 22 April from 12 noon till 6:30pm.

The celebrations, which mark the Sikh nation’s collective birthday, start at 11am as two huge processions set off from Gurdwaras (Sikh temples) in Hockley and Smethwick.

Led by five Sikhs in traditional dress they will be followed by thousands of other Sikhs from local congregations and at the head of each procession will be the Holy Scriptures of Revelation – referred to as the living Guru Granth Sahib.

Bringing a festive atmosphere to Handsworth Park, there will be live music, entertainment, Punjabi food and craft stalls. The traditional Langar – free vegetarian feast – will also be on offer.

As one of the largest outdoor Vaisakhi celebrations in the world, last year’s festival attracted over 90,000 people from the Midlands and beyond.  The event marks the formation of the Sikh nation or Khalsa Panth in 1699.  The five Sikhs leading each procession represent the original Panj Pyare (Beloved Ones) who were the first to join the Sikh order over 300 years ago.

Sharon Lea, Director of Environment and Culture for Birmingham City Council said:
“Birmingham’s vibrant Vaisakhi festival shows how people come together in the city to celebrate their cultural identity and is part of a calendar of diverse community events in the city.  The festival is free and everyone is welcome to join in the celebrations.”

Russell Atkinson, Managing Director for Lebara Mobile UK, said: “As one of the most symbolic dates in the Sikh Calendar, we are extremely proud to be one of the main sponsors of the hugely popular Vaisakhi Birmingham. Lebara Mobile’s success is built on its commitment to provide services which bring our customers closer to their friends, family and community.”

The event is alcohol free and no smoking, and visitors will not be allowed to bring dogs into the festival area.  Roads around the park will be closed for the day and residents in the local area have been sent a letter advising of the details.
For more information call 0121 303 3008 or go to www.birmingham.gov.uk/vaisakhi

ENDS

Media Contact:  jason_lewis@birmingham.gov.uk or 0121 303 4266/ 07766 923352

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