Sikhs take to the streets of Manchester for Nagar Kirtan. An annual event organised by the Sikh community of Manchester and Greater Manchester as part of the celebration of Vaisakhi which traditionally has been a harvest festival in Punhab a state of India.
As you can see the parade stretches for miles, and although they did have several police escorts, there was no trouble of any kind – with participants even handing out sweets and chocolates to those who had come out of their houses to see what was going on.
Vaisakhi has a special significance for the Sikh community as it coincides with the creation of the Khalsa (army of the pure ones) following the first peptise of the five beloved Sikhs by the 10th Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Following the event on the 30th of March 1699 the Khalsa was formed. The force gave humanity the Sikhs of today who stand for peace, harmony, understanding, mutual respect and dignity of all regardless of race, religious persuasion or sex.
Nagar Kirtan in Manchester comprises of a procession of floats with the Palki Sahib (or float specially built and decorated to house the Holy Sir Guru Granth Sahib Ji – the sacred book of the Sikhs) being the focal and lead float of the whole event. As can be seen on the video, directly in front of the Palki Sahib, there is a group of people cleaning the street prior to the sacred book travelling over it.
Raagis (Sikh religious musicians) perform on the main float as it navigates the route. There is a float with local children who have been learning Sikh traditional music.
The procession visited all of the give Gurdwaras in Manchester and will have a stop at the town hall for one hour. The Lord Mayor of Manchester will receive the procession at Town Hall steps.
There are believers of many faiths (and some of non) in Manchester, and its great to see people celebrating their own festivals.
If you ask me the Sikhs have got it spot on, standing for peace, harmony, understanding, mutual respect and dignity of all regardless of race, religious persuasion or sex. No matter who you are or what you believe in, I think the world would be a much better place if we all stood by these values.