Vibrant Vaisakhi in Birmingham

By on 15/04/2011 in Culture, News

One of the world's largest Vaisakhi celebrations will be returning to Handsworth Park on Sunday 24 April. 

Vaisakhi marks the Sikh nations' collective birthday. Birmingham's celebrations, which are now in their 20th year, start at 11.30am on Sunday as two processions set off from Gurdwaras (Sikh temples) in Hockley and Smethwick.  At the head of each procession will be the Guru Granth Sahib (the holy scriptures of revelation).  The processions will be led by five Sikhs dressed in ceremonial costume.

The processions will finish at Handsworth Park where there will be a fantastic free family event with live music, sports, entertainment, a children's inflatable play area, Punjabi food and craft stalls from 12 noon until 6.30pm.  There will also be a delicious Langar – free vegetarian feast - with food prepared by Gurdwaras from across Birmingham and the Black Country.

As one of the largest outdoor Vaisakhi celebrations in the world, last year's festival and procession attracted over 90,000 people throughout the day from the Midlands and beyond. 

Cllr Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport & Culture said:
“As part of a calendar of diverse community events the Vaisakhi festivities are a great example of people coming together to celebrate their culture.  The festival is free and everyone is welcome to join in the celebrations.”

Cllr Gurdial Singh Atwal, Acting Chair of the Council of Sikh Gurdwaras said:
“Vaisakhi is a very important event in the Sikh calendar.  The Council of Sikh Gurdwaras in Birmingham has organised the annual Vaisakhi celebrations in Handsworth Park with the support of the Sikh community, businesses, Birmingham City Council and our sponsor Lebara Mobile UK.  We would like to welcome everyone, Sikh and non-Sikh, to join in and share the festivities.”

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 - being associated with such a celebratory event allows us to connect with the communities we serve. We wish all our Sikh customers a very special Vaisakhi and look forward to celebrating with them at Vaisakhi Birmingham.”

The event is alcohol free and non smoking, and visitors will not be allowed to bring dogs into the festival area.  Holly Road and Grove Lane will be closed for the day and the Soho Road will be closed from 11.30am - 2.30pm.  There will also be an exclusion zone in operation around Handsworth Park and rolling road closures along the procession routes with roads closed for approximately one hour before the start of the procession, re-opening once the procession has safely passed through and the roads are clear.  Residents in the local area have been sent a letter with details and local churches have been issued with passes to allow members of their congregations access to the Easter Sunday services.

For more information call 0121 303 3008 or go to www.birmingham.gov.uk/vaisakhi.

ENDS

Media Contacts: debbie.harrison@birmingham.gov.uk or 0121 303 4476/07766 923352
Jason.lewis@birmingham.gov.uk or 0121 303 4266

Notes to Editor

Media accreditation will be in operation, and vehicle access to roads surrounding the park will be limited.  Please contact the media contacts above for access.

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