HomeNewsWest London NewsEvents A massive colourful Sikh festival is to take place in Southall
You can experience a vast array of cultural events in London, from Chinese New Year to Notting Hill Carnival, but one you may not have heard of is the Nagar Kirtan Sikh street procession - part of Vaisakhi, a festival to celebrate the birth of the Khalsa.
The colourful parade includes weaponry martial-arts displays, free food, hymn singing and drum playing, all led by a five-man sword carrying team and the Sikh scriptural Guru on a giant float.
Tens of thousands of Sikhs are expected to be part of the celebrations in Southall this Sunday, and around 20 more processions are to take place across Britain. The event is set to start at 10am in Park Avenue, continuing through The Green, King Street, Norwood Road and Norwood Green Road before finishing at Norwood Hall.
The Valsakhi Nagar Kirtan processes down Wellington Road North.
What is it all about? Sikhs believe that on April 14, 1699 Guru Gobind Singh called all Sikhs to the Indian city of Anandpur Sahib, Punjab. At the gathering he asked all those in attendance to uphold their faith and preserve the religion.
The Guru is then said to have lifted his sword and asked the crowd who was prepared to die for their faith. Beautiful tributes paid to 'very well-known' Southall man, whose spectacular funeral procession stopped traffic
One by one five men stepped forward, and they were all taken into a tent separately. After a short while Guru Gobind Singh reappeared with a bloodied sword, and the five of the men reappeared behind him - they were all dressed in blue garments. Guru Gobind Singh called the five men the 'Panj Pyare', which means the Five Beloved Ones.
After they reappeared from the tent, the Panj Pyare were baptized. It's thought that once the Guru had finished the rituals, he lent down and asked them to baptize him. To this day the five men are known as the first members of the Khalsa.