I’d like to wish all of our Sikh members, supporters and candidates a Happy Vaisakhi.
I know that today is a very special day for you as you celebrate not only the year that Sikhism was born as a collective faith, the anniversary of the founding of the Khalsa (the collective name given to Sikhs who’ve been baptised), but also the start of the Sikh New Year.
As you spend the day visiting family and friends, swapping gifts, visiting gudwaras, perhaps being baptised into the Khalsa or taking part in nagar kirtan processions, I’d like to thank you for your contribution to our Party.
I spent some of my teenage years in Trinidad and Tobago, where it was normal to celebrate the various festivals that were important to each and every faith as if it were our own.
Thinking about the celebration of Vaishakhi here in the UK makes me trawl my memory for a taste of the food or a glimpse of a procession from sharing this day with my young Sikh friends and their families. My memories are dim, but what I remember most is the music – the Tabla (drums), the Shabad kirtan (distinctive hymns) and the playing of the Harmonium, which I am guessing might not be a traditional Sikh instrument, but certainly became a key feature of Sikh celebrations when I was growing up.
If you are reading this and are not familiar with today’s festival, I’d encourage you to look on YouTube where you can hear some of the beautiful music that is a key feature of today’s celebrations.
If you are a member of the Sikh community, please do share some of the photos and short videos from today with me on Twitter or Facebook and I will repost them – make sure you get the permission of others in the photos/videos before doing this though!
If you are not yet a member or supporter of our Party and would like to know more or, even better, if you’d like to help us to better engage with the Sikh community and focus on what’s relevant to you in our policy making, do join us.
Start making a political difference to this country as a member or supporter of a Party who cares.
In the meantime, Happy Vaisakhi to all!