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Home » Kind-hearted Sikh community offering free food as Vaisakhi celebrations continue – Stoke-on-Trent Live

Kind-hearted Sikh community offering free food as Vaisakhi celebrations continue – Stoke-on-Trent Live

The sangat (congregation) has come together for the first time since the coronavirus lockdown
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A Stoke-on-Trent gurdwara is spreading kindness across the Potteries as they observe Vaisakhi. It’s an event which celebrates the founding of the Khalsa, the Sikh community, which took place on April 14, in 1699.
Guru Nanak Gurdwara and Sikh Cultural Centre, in Liverpool Road, Stoke, is offering langar (free food) as they enjoy the special occasion. It was Guru Gobind Singh, the last living Guru, who created the Khalsa.
The celebrations started on Friday (April 15) and will conclude later this afternoon (April 17). During this time the Guru Granth Sahib – which has 1,430 pages – is recited as the sangat listen in and offer their prayers.
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It's the first time the community has got together in two years. Alongside offering their prayers, they are also serving langar (free food) which is something they will continue to do after Vaisakhi too.
The Nishan Sahib (flag) was changed outside the gurdwara as the sangat sang and chanted. Stalls offering langar to the entire community have been set up for today.
Speaking on the importance of Vaisakhi, committee member Amrick Singh Devgon, 51, said: “It’s important for us because it’s the start of the Khalsa. Before, there were different factions of Sikh’s and now our last living Guru created the Khalsa and says once you are baptised you are part of the Khalsa. You are not part of any other faction.
“What our Guru did was he baptised five Sikhs. We read through the day and night, it started on Friday morning and we will finish off this morning (April 17) after which we will have our main prayer.
“During this time all the Sikh community and anybody could come to the gurdwara, say their prayer, listen to the Guru Granth Sahib and have a langar. A langar isn’t just for the Sikh people, it’s for everybody.
“Anyone can come into the gurdwara and can have the langar regardless of their religion or ethnicity. Our first guru, Guru Nanak Ji, started the langar and it was to help the poor people.
“Regardless of how rich or poor you are, you sit together. Everyone eats the same meal and it brings people together.”
During the Covid-19 lockdown the sangat was unable to come together but that's changed with restrictions having been lifted. Amrick works in engineering when he’s not at the gurdwara.
The dad-of-three, from Hanford, added: “When we get a sangat like this I am very happy. When we had Covid I was so sad because we didn’t have this, people would come to the gurdwara, do their prayers and go.
“This is the first time in two years that we’ve had a programme like this where we can come and do what we want to do. For the whole community, it’s a joyous occasion and it brings everyone together – we are not a big community in Stoke but we all know each other like family.
“We are hoping to do Nagar Kirtan in the future, this is when we get the Guru Granth Sahib and we take it into the neighbourhood. The translation of Nagar Kirtan is ‘neighbourhood prayers’.
“Today we have stalls set up. There will be a langar set up outside on one stall so anybody passing the gurdwara can have langar. Everybody is welcome.
“We use that opportunity to let people know who we are. People start asking questions and we could talk about our religion and what kind of people we are. It makes people aware of what we are.”
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