Vaisakhi festival and parade in Leeds to mark start of Sikh new year

CELEBRATION: Last year's Leeds Vaisakhi parade.
CELEBRATION: Last year's Leeds Vaisakhi parade.
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there’ll be a colourful celebration of culture in Leeds city centre this weekend when members of the Sikh community mark the start of their new year with the annual Vaisakhi festival.

Saturday’s procession will leave the Sikh temple on Chapeltown Road in the morning and will arrive at Millennium Square at around 2pm.

All are welcome for the main event on Millennium Square which will involve cultural activities and delicious food.

The annual festival has become a regular highlight of Leeds’s cultural calendar.

Vaisakhi is a long established harvest festival in the Punjab region of India, and pre-dates the faith itself. But it has become one of the holiest days in the Sikh calendar and marks the creation of the Khalsa, the birth of the Sikh faith in 1699.

Around 2,000 people took part in the celebrations in Leeds last year.

The procession features a traditional sword march, martial arts displays and hymn singing.

Balraj Singh, president of the Sikh Temple on Chapeltown Road, said of last year’s event: “The atmosphere was electric and everybody was buzzing. There were elderly people, young people, different communities, cultures and religions all celebrating together. Seeing people from different backgrounds was brilliant.

“The idea of Vaisakhi is that anyone can come along. The Sikh faith is about openness and allowing everyone to join in.”

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