What is Vaisakhi and where can I celebrate the Sikh festival in the Midlands?

Thousands will be taking part in events across the Midlands Credit: ITV Central

Singing, music and parades are set to take place across the Midlands to celebrate the Sikh festival Vaisakhi.

Kaleidoscopes of colour and a mix of hymns and songs will be shaping our cities throughout the week, as events get underway.

Here's everything you need to know about Vaisakhi - from why it's such an important event in the Sikh calendar to the events taking place.

What is Vaisakhi?

Vaisakhi falls in April but is celebrated throughout the month. It is for Sikhs and is a celebration of the birth of the Khalsa.

The Khalsa is the collective of initiated Sikhs that still keep a physical identity (the 5 K's) and code of conduct (to provide food and justice for all) gifted to them by the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji.

The Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Sikh scriptural Guru, is on a float as the main focus of the procession.

Gurbani (Hymns) is sung, langar (free food) is served and there are often displays of Sikh martial arts too.

They've been taking place for more than 40 years here, and regularly attract crowds of more than 100,000 people.

Tajinder Kaur from Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara in Leicester talks about the significance of the processions at one of the biggest celebrations in the country.

The Khalsa

According to Sikh PA, Khalsa means both “Pure” and “King’s Own”. The Khalsa represent the living form of the Guru – and therefore are God’s representatives – on earth.

Sikhs are initiated into the Khalsa through the Amrit Sanchar ceremony, which is why Khalsa Sikhs are referred to as Amritdhari.

The Khalsa were created to fight oppression, uphold freedom and basics needs (food, clothing, health and education) for all people.

How is it celebrated?

Sikhs will visit places of worship called Gurdwaras which will be especially decorated for the occasion.

Usually Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi through a Nagar Kirtan, (Town hymn singing), a procession through their local town led by five initiated Sikhs (Panj Pyare). 

'Nagar' means town and 'kirtan' means the singing of hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib, which is the Sikh holy book.

The book is carried in the processions in a place of honour.

Celebrations traditionally include singing and music, as well as reading scriptures out loud and chanting hymns.

Many Sikhs also choose Vaisakhi as the day to be baptised in to the Khalsa brotherhood.

Normally big celebrations take place in the city of Anandpur Sahib in Punjab, which is where Guru Gobind Singh established the Khalsa.

Langar (free food) is served throughout the day at all Gurdwaras

Some of the events taking place across the Midlands


Events are set to take place at the Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara Sahib.

Wednesday, April 13 - Amrit Sanchaar, Guru Nanak Gurdwara Sahib.

Thursday, April 14 - There will be Bhog Sri Akhand Paath Sahib at 10am, followed by a Diwaan.

There will also be Nishaan Sahib Sewa at 7.30am.

May 1 - Vaisakhi Nagar Kirtan at 11am.


There are events taking place at Guru Arjan Dev Gurdwara Derby.

Thursday April 14 - Bhog Sri Akhand Paath Sahib Ji at 9.30am, followed by Kirtan and Katha.

Friday, April 15 - Arambh Sri Arkhand Paath Sahib at 9.30am.

Saturday, April 16 - Nishan Sahib Seva at 8.30am.

Sunday, April 17 - Bhog Sri Akhand Paath Sahib Ji at 9.30am, followed by Kirtan and Katha. There will also be Nagar Kirtan at 2pm.


A celebration takes place on Sunday, May 8.

It starts at 9.30am from Sri Guru Teg Bahadur, Church Street Nottingham and finishes at the Gurdwara Ramgharia Sabha, in Percy Street.

A statement on the Nottingham Sikhs Facebook page reads: "Please attend with family and friends and celebrate Vaisakhi (the Birth of Khalsa) on 8th May 2022."

West Midlands

According to the Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick Facebook page, the management committee is set to hold open-air celebrations outside the Gurdwara on the High Street, on Sunday, April 24.

On April 13, the Gurdwara will also host Shaheedi Smagam in memory of the 13 Shaheeds of Amritsar Shahib (Vaisakhi 1978).

On Thursday, April 14, there will be Bhog Sri Akhand Paath Sahib at 5am, which is followed by a Diwaan.

There will also be Nishan Sahib Seva at 4am and Amrit Sanchaar at 4pm.


The Gurdwara Guru Nanak Parkash will be holding celebrations this year on Sunday, April 24, with a 10am start.

It starts and finishes at the Gurdwara in Harnall Lane West, taking in Cross Road and Foleshill Road.


The Guru Nanak Gurdwara Walsall will be holding events in association with Nanaksar Gurdwara & Darbar Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

On Sunday, April 17, from 10am onwards there will be Mahaan Nagar Kirtan.

From April 1 to 13 there is Naam Simran from 7pm until 8pm.

On April 14 there is Bhog Sri Akhand Path Sahib at 6pm.

If you have an event that we haven't mentioned email centralnews@itv.com and we will include it in our list.