The Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, is celebrating the upcoming Vaisakhi festival virtually and is encouraging people to share their celebrations using the hashtag #VirtualVaisakhiWM
This year the celebration is on Monday 13 April and the festival is usually celebrated by visiting the local Gurdwara, spending time with family and friends and street processions called Nagar kirtans.
However, the government’s restrictions which include a ban on gatherings to try to control the spread of coronavirus have resulted in the cancellation of religious services and gatherings for all faiths.
Many Sikhs will be praying and celebrating at home with immediate loved ones only. To further share the festivities the Mayor Andy Street, with local Sikh groups, has created a campaign where people in the West Midlands can show their respect for the Sikh faith and celebrate Vaisakhi as a community. Everyone is being encouraged to wear the colours of the Sikh faith, blue and orange, and share images on social media using the hashtag #VirtualVaisakhiWM
The Mayor said: “The coronavirus pandemic is affecting how we conduct almost every aspect of our lives, including religious worship.
“However, we should still be able to celebrate and come together as a community, even if it is through the means of technology.
“We’re hoping households across the West Midlands will share their experience of the festival this year by dressing in blue and orange colours and posting images of themselves with the #VirtualVaisakhiWM hashtag.
“By performing this simple act, we will be helping to bring the West Midlands together at a time when meeting each other in the normal way is not feasible.”
Birmingham businesswoman Manjit Kaur Kang is co-chair of RBS Sikh Network. She said: “Vaisakhi 2020 will be an unprecedented occasion for many Sikhs with the absence of visiting the Gurdwara, family gatherings and partaking in the annual Nagar Kirtan.
“As Sikhs, we are reminded to remain content with God’s will and to always be in ‘Chardi Kala’, a mental state of positivity, optimism and joy even during times of adversity.
“Through this fantastic initiative, we can all get involved, share these positive and uplifting messages and bring communities together through a ‘Virtual Vaisakhi’ celebration.”