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Redbridge residents gear up to celebrate Vaisakhi

PUBLISHED: 15:20 09 April 2018 | UPDATED: 15:29 13 April 2018

Vaisakhi celebrations in Ilford High Road. Photo: Ilford Bid

Vaisakhi celebrations in Ilford High Road. Photo: Ilford Bid

Archant

Residents across the borough are gearing up to celebrate Vaisakhi.

Vaisakhi, also known as Baisakhi or Vaishakhi, commemorates the transformation the Sikhs into a family of warrior saints, known as the Khalsa Panth, under Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.

On Saturday (April 7), dancers and drummers greeted unsuspecting shoppers with performances and the banging of Dhol drums in Ilford High Road.

The festivities were organised by the Ilford Business Improvement District (BID) - who work on behalf of more than 400 businesses in the town centre.

“It was vibrant, colourful and there was a great energy about the place,” said BID Manager Ben Collins.

Vaisakhi celebration in Ilford High Road. Photo: Ilford BIDVaisakhi celebration in Ilford High Road. Photo: Ilford BID

“I didn’t join in the dancing, before you ask,” he added, laughing.

Three dance sessions took place over the course of the day run by Ilford dance school Karan’s Bollywood Masterclass, in Heathcote Avenue.

“We danced to a mix of Punjabi, Bollywood and English music,” said Moni Pangali, managing director of the dance troupe.

“There was a lot of participation during the interactive dance workshops,” he added.

“Loads of passersby and shoppers stopped and joined in the dancing.

“People were amazed how four or five year old children can learn a five minute dance routine without a parent and teacher.

Vaisakhi also has significance to other religions, including Hinduism, as a long standing harvest festival in the Punjab region of India.

Normally celebrated on April 13 and 14, more events are set to take place across the borough.

Sikh temples, known as Gurdwaras, are often decorated and Sikh history is sung from holy scriptures throughout the day.

Balvinder Saund is chairwoman of the Sikh Women’s Alliance.

“It marks the birth of our Sikh identity in 1699,” she said.

“That was when people started wearing turbans.”

The alliance will be marking the ocasion at the Karamsar Centre, in Buckingham Road, in Ilford, at 12pm on May 6.

For more details contact: 07960987825

Redbridge Panjabi Sabhiacharik (Cultural) Sabha will also be holding celebrations at the Panjabi Centre, in Ley Street, Ilford, at 6pm on April 28.

For more details contact: 02084784962

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