There were colourful scenes when hundreds of people took to the streets of Doncaster for a procession in celebration of a Sikh festival.
Around 1,000 Sikhis – followers of Sikhism – and supporters of the faith took part in Sunday’s celebration of the Vaisakhi which is celebrated as the day of the creation of the Khalsa.
For Sikhis, Vaisakhi is a time for reflection, when people are more inclined to become initiated into the Khalsa, which is the eternal living embodiment of the Sikh Guru.
This year’s procession, referred to as a Nagar Kitan, which took place on yesterday started, at the Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara on Balby Road and snaked to the Guru Kalgidhar Gurdwar on Catherine Street.
Doncaster’s new civic mayor, Paul Wray, was among those in attendance on the day.
He told The Star: “I’ve been on the Sikh procession today, and it really sums up a lot of what I want to do as mayor, which is to bring communities in Doncaster together, and it’s very good for that.
The 64-year-old continued: “It’s been a very lively and colourful event.”
MPs and leaders of the Sikh community also attended the day-long event.
Martial-arts displays, hymn singing and free food were some of the highlights on offer as part of the procession.
Jasveer Singh Gill, of the Sikh Press Association, said the procession was a form of celebration, but added he hoped it had also helped people to learn more about the Sikh culture.
Jasveer said: “We wanted to bring the procession and celebration to the doorstep of Doncaster and the local community.
“Part of what will took place on the day has helped to demonstrate different aspects of the Sikh faith, like the martial arts displays and giving away free food.
“The giving away of food demonstrates sustaining physical and spiritual needs, and is in keeping with our ethos of providing services to others.”
The Khalsa was created on Vaisakhi in 1699 and the day has been celebrated since by millions of Sikhs the world over.
Every year, for more than 40 years, hundreds of thousands of Sikhs have marched through the streets of Britain in celebration of Vaisakhi. In Britain, about 30 Nagar Kitans will take place this year.