Vaisakhi 2017: 10 things British Sikhs do to celebrate Vaisakhi

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    10 things British Sikhs do to celebrate Vaisakhi
    London’s Sikh community celebrate Vaisakhi at London’s city hall in 2015. (Picture: Jay Shaw Baker/NurPhoto/Getty Images)

    Happy Vaisakhi! Today marks the most important day in the Sikh calendar.

    Vaisakhi 2017: What is it and why do Sikhs celebrate it?

    Sikhs around the world will take time out in order to celebrate this occasion, and British Sikhs are no different.

    All British Sikhs know that Vaisakhi is not complete without a trip to the local gurdwara, countless phone calls from relatives, and if your parents are feeling extra nice they may even treat you to a trip to India.

    Here are the ways in which British Sikhs will celebrate Vaisakhi.

    1. Visit the gurdwara

    10 things British Sikhs do to celebrate Vaisakhi
    Sri Guru Singh Sabha in Hounslow celebrating Vaisakhi in 2008(Picture: Photofusion/Universal Images Group/Getty Images)

    It never really feels like Vaisakhi unless you make a trip to the local gurdwara, usually for prayers and special offerings.

    You are guaranteed to bump into every single relative you know, several people from your dad’s village in Punjab, and quite possibly your best mate’s gran.

    2. Take part in a nagar kirtan

    These street processions are held all over the country, and usually on different dates so you can attend as many as possible.

    It is guaranteed to rain, but the samosa reinforcements on the route always help.

    3. Celebrate with food

    10 things British Sikhs do to celebrate Vaisakhi
    You will get through a fair few of these (Picture: Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images)

    When it comes to celebrating with food, this is not a one-off meal. It usually turns into a week-long binge on the most calorific and butter-laden Indian food ever invented.

    Your mum has definitely made a feast, and of course the gurdwara will have a special Vaisakhi menu on in the communal dining room, aka the langar hall.

    4. Call friends and family

    You know its Vaisakhi when you are woken up by relatives calling from half way around the world at 4am to send religious wishes and greetings your way.

    And then you spend the majority of the day sharing Vaisakhi picture messages and videos with all those celebrating.

    5. Visit family

    10 things British Sikhs do to celebrate Vaisakhi
    Celebrating Vaisakhi in Trafalgar Square(Picture: Bertrand Langlois/AFP/Getty)

    Just like Christmas you are expected to visit family and do the rounds with gifts.

    Not only is it a good reason to visit family, but also a good reason to remember your shared heritage.

    6. Swap presents

    The presents are a definite highlight, and they aren’t the usual conventional things like socks or books.

    Nope, at Vaisakhi it takes on a whole different meaning, and that meaning is Indian sweets.

    Expect to receive a ton of jalebis, and enough gulaab jaamans to feed a small island.

    7. Make a trip to India

    10 things British Sikhs do to celebrate Vaisakhi
    Vaisakhi is celebrated at India’s Golden Temple (Picture: Getty)

    Your parents frown every time you announce that you are popping to Europe for a weekend break, even though you managed to get it at an amazing price.

    But they will think nothing of treating you to a trip to India for two weeks, to coincide with Vaisakhi.

    If you are lucky enough to make this trip you will have the best time of your life at the gurdwaras and local village events.

    8. Wear new clothes

    As Vaisakhi marks the Sikh New Year, your mum does the usual trip to Next and gets you a brand new outfit.

    Because, you know, you gotta start the New Year looking presentable.

    9. Fireworks

    10 things British Sikhs do to celebrate Vaisakhi
    (Picture: Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty)

    Each year you end up wearing a coat, standing under an umbrella, in the car park of the local gurdwara watching the amazing fireworks display.

    And then retreating inside for a steaming hot cup of Indian chai. Perfect.

    10. Hold special prayers

    Above all Vaisakhi is a religious occasion, celebrating the birth of Sikhism as a collective faith, and British Sikhs use this opportunity to hold special religious prayers either at a local gurdwara, a gurdwara abroad, or in their own homes.

    MORE: Vaisakhi 2017: Thousands come together for colourful parade celebrating holy festival

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