SBS Radio App

Download the FREE SBS Radio App for a better listening experience

  • Thousands celebrate Vaisakhi in the heart of Melbourne. (Supplied)
Thousands gathered in the heart of Melbourne to mark the festival of Vaisakhi – the celebration of the birth of Khalsa. The Sikh parade or the Nagar Kirtan event was held at such a large scale for the first time in the streets of Melbourne this Saturday, April 13.
15 Apr 2019 - 5:37 PM  UPDATED 15 Apr 2019 - 6:30 PM

Melbourne CBD became a bastion of Sikh culture on Saturday as it celebrated Vaisakhi with thousands gathering to participate in the annual Sikh Parade, a procession, known as the Nagar Kirtan.

Up to 20,000 people are believed to have attended this year’s event, which took place on the streets of Melbourne starting from Parliament Gardens to Flagstaff Gardens.

The celebratory event was organised by the Victorian Sikh Gurdwaras Council (VSGC).

Sikh Gurdwaras and organisations Cross Victoria participated in this Nagar Kirtan event.

In a media statement, Gurdeep Singh Matharoo, VSGC President said, “Vaisakhi is an exciting festival for all Sikhs and an opportunity to renew our commitment to Sikhism.”

“VSGC will make efforts to celebrate this event every year. We also acknowledge the Victorian Multicultural Commission for their financial support for the event.” 

Vaisakhi is the most important Sikh festival and is celebrated by millions of Sikhs across the globe.

The festival marks the day in 1699 when the 10th Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, founded the Sikh community known as the Khalsa. It also marks the onset of the harvest season and the Sikh New Year.

Nagar Kirtan is also a celebration of Sikh tradition, heritage and culture, and this event often showcases Shabad kirtan (spiritual music), martial arts, langar (free food) and children’s activities.

As the tradition goes, the Nagar Kirtan in Melbourne was led by the Panj Pyaras (the five beloved ones) and followed by the holy scripture of the Sikhs (Guru Granth Sahib) placed on a golden palanquin, decorated with flowers.

The procession was marked by rendering of shabad kirtan (holy hymns) by various groups of men, women and children.

The celebrations featured a number of guests, including Julian Hill MP, Federal Member of Bruce, Neil Angus, State Member of Forest Hill and Anne Randall, Director of Good Friday Appeal at Royal Children’s Hospital.

This year, Royal Children Hospital received $20,000 – money raised by Victoria’s Sikh community at the event. 

Listen to SBS Punjabi Monday to Friday at 9 pm. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter

Also Read
Sikhs contribute $8.1 billion annually to the Australian economy: report
The report entitled ‘Economic potential and impact of Sikhs’ highlights the productive impact the Sikhs have made to the Australian economy, and how it has grown over the years.
Sikh community donates $60,000 to help victims of Christchurch mosque attacks
The Sikh community in New Zealand has come forward to provide financial support for people affected by the Christchurch shootings and their family members. Within five days of posting an appeal on Facebook, the community collected over NZ$60,000 to help the victims of the most horrific massacre in NZ's history.
$500,000 federal grant for a Sikh community centre in Melbourne
A grant worth half a million dollars from the Australian government will help establish a Gurdwara (Sikh Temple) and community centre in Melbourne’s southeast.
Sikh volunteer wins Citizen of the Year award
For Harpreet Singh, community service is not just a task but a chance to set an example for the young generation and give back to the community.