Join us at this year’s Vaisakhi at City Hall
Vaisakhi celebrations will take place at City Hall on 9 April. We hear from festival organisers Manraj Singh Othi and Lovepreet Singh Samra about the role of Kirtan and Langar in the Sikh faith…
Kirtan, or spiritual music, is one of the two main elements in this year’s Vaisakhi. Kirtan is the performance of Shabads (hymns) from the Sikh scriptures using raags and string instruments. The singing of kirtan is a congregational activity aimed at using music to convey the message of Sikh teachings to its listeners as well as bringing communities together. It’s considered by Sikhs to be the highest form of worship. As such, kirtan is a core part of the Sikh faith. Vaisakhi is a great opportunity to showcase this beautiful music in London.
On the day, we’ll be presenting many diverse styles of Kirtan. Some of the string instruments being used are over 300 years old and were designed by the Sikh gurus themselves. You’ll also be able to hear modern Kirtan, to show how it has evolved over time. This uses Western instruments like guitar, violin, and percussion, as well as just pure acapella vocals, while still staying true to the traditional Shabads.
Come and hear Kirtan in the Chamber at City Hall from 1:30pm – 5.30pm on 9 April.
Manraj Singh Othi - Vaisakhi Steering Group - from Ashurst D&I network and co-founder EY Sikh Network
Langar was established by the first Sikh Guru, Guru Nanak Dev Ji. It means ‘communal free kitchen’. Every Gurdwara (Sikh place of worship) has a Langar kitchen where hot vegetarian meals are prepared, cooked and served daily for free. It’s available to everyone, regardless of race, sex, culture or religion. As well as equality, Langar is about sharing, community, inclusiveness and oneness of all.
For this year’s Vaisakhi, Gurdwara Singh Sabha London East and Khalsa Ethics will work with charities, Gurseva, Langar Aid and S.E.V.A to make over 4,000 hot meals. That means it will be the UK’s largest organic Langar production to date! Everyone involved in this huge effort will be giving up their time for free. In the Sikh faith, this voluntary action is known as sewa (selfless service to the others). Around 100 people will share the tasks of preparing, cooking, serving and cleaning, starting at 4am in the Gurdwara’s kitchen.
Langar will be available outside City Hall at More London Riverside from 1pm on 9 April.
Lovepreet Singh Samra - Vaisakhi Steering Group Secretary, Gurdwara Singh Sabha London East and founder EY Sikh Network