Vaisakhi Festival Returns To Trafalgar Square

Vaisakhi Festival Returns To Trafalgar Square
A woman, microphone in-hand, performs on stage.
There will be educational talks about Punjabi and Sikh culture. Image: Greater London Authority

Vaisakhi Festival — a celebration of Sikh and Punjabi culture — returns to Trafalgar Square this month.

The festival marks the beginning of the Punjabi New Year, and is celebrated in various events worldwide.

London's official Vaisakhi celebrations — on Saturday 16 April — take the form of a whole afternoon of entertainment, including martial arts performers, an exhibition featuring the work of Sikh artists, chefs preparing traditional dishes, and short films playing on a big screen.

A 10-piece marching band will kick off the celebrations with a bang, performing the Sikh hymn, 'Deh Shiva Bar Mohe Hai'.

Thousands gather in Trafalgar Square to celebrate Sikh religious festival. The historical and religious festival is celebrated by millions of Sikhs every year hosted by Mayor of London.
The festival is family-friendly, providing activities for everyone. Image: Greater London Authority

Stalls highlighting Punjabi and Sikh cultural practices take over Trafalgar Square, with a chance to try turban tying and get stuck into arts and crafts projects. There will also be free food samples available for anyone wanting to try some traditional Punjabi delicacies.

A group of performers play their instruments at a cultural festival in Trafalgar Square.
Traditional musical performances are a big hit at the festival. Image: Greater London Authority

Live music and recorded performances of Kirtan (a form of devotional singing, usually accompanied by musical instruments) by famous performers like Qi-Rattan and Manika Kaur will be broadcast on a big screen.

Demonstrators will also perform Gatka, an Indian style of martial art, in which participants use wooden sticks (also called 'gatka') in place of swords.

The Mayor of London speaks at the Vaisakhi Festival in Trafalgar Square, 2018.
The Mayor of London at the event in 2018. Image: Greater London Authority

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said:

Here in London the Sikh community makes a massive contribution to making London the greatest city in the world. One of the great things about London is we don't just tolerate difference, we embrace it, we respect it, and we celebrate it.

Vaisakhi Festival, Trafalgar Square, 16 April, 1pm-6pm. It's free to attend.

Last Updated 08 April 2022