FORT Cornwallis turned into a vibrant space filled with colours, sumptuous Punjabi cuisine and fun during the Vasakhi Festival 2019 organised by Wadda Gurdwara Sahib Penang.
The event, which received over 3,000 visitors on Saturday, saw a rich showcase of cultural performances, traditional instrument shows and an interactive Sikh exhibition.
Tourists from Germany, Anastasia Mitrovic, 28, and Milos Mitrovic, 29, who had a go at chapati-making at the Sikh exhibition, said the event was very enjoyable.
“This festival is so well-integrated that we both felt very welcome and at home.
“The people are very warm and we can see a lot of people from different backgrounds here so we really feel at home, even while learning chapati-rolling,” Anastasia said.
At the exhibition, visitors also tried their hands at Gurbani calligraphy, henna drawing and turban tying.
Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, who launched the event, said the festival brought a vibrant range of cultural performances while allowing people from other communities to learn about Sikh traditions, culture and religion.
“Such event also opens doors for us to learn about each other’s cultural practices and traditions which form the bedrock for a mutually cooperative, vibrant and productive society.
“This is what Penang needs, a society that is accepting of each other and that is able to work in harmony,” he said, adding that the festival, which started out as a small celebration many years ago, has now grown into a state-level event.
Wadda Gurdwara Sahib Penang president and event organising chairman Sardar Daljit Singh said the festival not only allows the Sikh community to celebrate but also increases awareness on their culture.
“Vasakhi is a religious and joyous day for the Sikhs.
“It marks the birth of the Khalsa or the Sikh nation, elevating Sikhism and bringing all men and women to equal standing,” he said.
Also present during the event were Penang Housing, Local Government, Town and Rural Development Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo, Penang Tourism Development, Heritage, Culture and Arts Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, Batu Lancang assemblyman Ong Ah Teong, Ayer Itam assemblyman Joseph Ng and Pengkalan Kota assemblyman Daniel Gooi.