14 May 2019
Wales launch for UK wide season of events marking 550th birth of founding Guru
National celebrations marking the birth of the guru who founded Sikhism are to kick off in Wales this month.
The UK season of events are part of events organised worldwide to mark this landmark in faith for Sikhs.
The Consul General of India in Wales and the Sikh Council of Wales are jointly hosting Guru Nanak Dev Ji’s 550th birth anniversary celebrations in the Welsh capital at Cardiff University on Sunday 19 May.
Open to all, the celebrations celebrate the life and legacy of the founder of Sikhism, Guru Nānakdevji and 550 years of the world faith, with children from Sikh temples across Wales performing Kirtan (chanting), Kavita (Hindi poetry) and Sakhi (recounting Sikh history).
The event will be attended by dignitaries of all faiths, alongside High Commissioner of India HE Ruchi Gunshyam, Sikh Council of Wales Head Gurmit Singh Randhawa MBE and Indian Honorary Consul General Raj Aggarwal OBE.
Today Sikhism is the world’s fifth largest religion, practiced globally by 25 million people, including 432,000 in the UK - 0.7% of the UK proportion - and almost 3,000 Sikhs in Wales.
Sikhs focus their lives around their relationship with God, and being a part of the Sikh community. The Sikh ideal combines action and belief. To live a good life a person should do good deeds as well as meditating on God. Sikhs practice three duties: Nam japna - Keeping God in mind at all times, Kirt Karna - Earning an honest living and Vand Chhakn – giving to charity and caring for others.
Indian diplomat Raj Aggarwal said: “The diaspora in Wales are hard-working and prosperous and an amazing asset to the country. It is fantastic to share such a joyous occasion in our wonderfully diverse and inclusive society.”
Professor of Sanskrit and Indian Religions James Hegarty is to give a key address. The Head of the School of History, Archaeology and Religion said:
"Sikh tradition is rich and vibrant and Guru Nānakdevji’s spiritual and poetic legacy is one worthy of celebration by Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike. We are excited and honoured to be participating in such a wonderful event."
The Sikh 550th birthday celebrations takes place at Cardiff University on Sunday 19 May (5pm – 8pm) in the Julian Hodge Building. All are welcome and the event is open to the public.