MELBOURNE – Federation Square became a spectacle of colour as over five thousand Sikhs flocked together to the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi on Sunday, 30th April.
The event featured Turban tying stalls, Sikh exhibitions, Gatka (Sikh Martial Arts), Musical performances, kids area and over 25 local community organisations sharing their projects with the wider community of Australia.
During the event, volunteers lined to hand out food and drink to crowds gathered to witness the Khalsayee event.
The event started with the Sikh procession lead by Panj Singhs followed by Ardas ceremony. Various interfaith group leaders attended the event and shared their prayers to congratulate Sikh community for celebrating Vaisakhi.
It was the first time that Sikh Flags (Nishan Sahibs) were rising high in the heart of Melbourne city centre.
In addition to the day guests in attendance included Hon. MP Andrew Giles, Member of Scullin, Hon MP Dee Ryall, Member of Ringwood, Deputy Commissioner Andrew Crisp, Victoria Police.
There was a one minute silence observed during the event to pay tribute to the victims of Bourke st. incident.
The Vaisakhi festival bears a great significance for Sikhs due to the fact that on the Vaisakhi Day in the year 1699, the 10th Guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, laid down the foundation of the Khalsa Panth – the “Order of the Pure Ones”.
Victorian Sikh Gurduaras Council President Harshminder Singh in a message thanked all Gurdwaras and local organisations in making the event successful and said,
“IT IS IMPORTANT TO SHOW THE WORLD OUR IDENTITY, AND WHAT SIKHS LOOK LIKE.”
Event Coordinator Gurinder Kaur said that It is significant to organise Sikh Festivals with wider communities because there is an identity crisis, in terms of people thinking Sikhs are part of other communities, but they are completely separate.
Vaisakhi at Federation Square is a unique event to celebrate the contributions and aspirations of Sikh community in Australia and develop a greater understanding and appreciation for a rich, unique and diverse heritage.
There were Sikh members of defence and Victoria Police who were educating the wider community about Sikh contributions in Australia.
This was Melbourne’s first celebration of Vaisakhi at Federation Square and it was amazing to see the love and passion of the community for their culture & heritage.