Sunderland Sikh Centre welcomes the world to mark festival of Vaisakhi

The changing of the Nishan Sahib at Sunderland's Sikh Community Centre
The changing of the Nishan Sahib at Sunderland's Sikh Community Centre
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Sunderland’s Sikh community is welcoming the world this weekend.

The community centre in The Cloisters is hosting an open day to mark the festival of Vaisakhi, one of the most important dates in the Sikh calendar.

We thought it would be great to invite people to come down to the centre and see what is going on.”

Kam Chera

Vaisakhi marks the anniversary of the founding of the Khalsa - the Sikh order or community into which all followers of the religion are baptised or initiated - in 1699.

The festival was marked with a replacement of the Nishan Sahib - the triangular Sikh flag which is flown outside the temple - to symbolise rebirth and renewal, and a reading of the full Guru Granth Sahib, the religion’s holy book.

Now the centre’s leaders are inviting Wearsiders to learn more about the community’s traditions and culture and its part in the life of Sunderland.

Kam Chera, who runs the Funky Indian restaurant near Mowbray Park, is backing tomorrow’s open day.

“It is an opportunity for the community of Sunderland to come down and see what the celebrations are about,” he said.

“There will be food stalls, there is going to be arts and craft sessions, Bollywood dancers, Bangra dancers, lots of stuff for the kids and a DJ to make sure the event has that Bollywood wedding feel.

“The centre has been here for about 16 years now, but we are quite a quiet community, we just tend to keep our heads down and get on with it.

“We thought it would be great to invite people to come down to the centre and see what is going on.”

The fun starts at 12noon tomorrow and will go on until 4.30pm.

Admission is free,with a small charge for food.