Happy Baisakhi. Bhangre paaea, gidhe paaea.
Vaisakhi, sometimes pronounced Baisakhi, is the Sikh New Year festival. It is celebrated by Sikhs as well as Hindus around the world and has long been celebrated as a harvest festival in Punjab. It is especially sacred for Sikhs as it also commemorates 1699 which is the year the Khalsa was born.
Vaisakhi celebrations include visiting the temple, or Gudwaras, parades and street celebrations called nagar kirtans and public feasts called langar. Normally, there is a large Vaisakhi festival in Trafalgar Square where thousands gather to celebrate, but this year, due to the pandemic things will be different. Nevertheless, the spirit of Vaisakhi will not be lost.
Other spring harvest festivals taking place across Asia next week include Pohela Boishakh in Bangladesh, Songkran in Malaysia and Thailand, Ugadi in parts of India (Telugu) and Puthandu, Tamil New Year.
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There are over 500,000 Sikhs in the UK, over 1.2 million Hindus, 0.7 million Bangladeshis, 200,000 South East Asians and 300,000 Tamils in the UK based on speculations from ONS predictions.