Saturday, 16 April 2011

Thousands due to join in parade

Nice piece in today's Leicester Mercury about the Vaisakhi parade that will take place in the city tomorrow. Over the past few years this has become a landmark in Leicester's calendar and it continues to go from strength to strength. This is a very positive article, with some helpful context and historical background: 

Thousands due to join in parade 
By Peter Squires & David Owen 

Up to 20,000 people are expected to take part in a parade through Leicester tomorrow to mark the Indian festival of Vaisakhi.

The colourful procession will wind its way through the centre of the city. 

It will be accompanied by devotional music, with spectators invited to join in with the festivities and share in traditional Indian delicacies. 

The Vaisakhi is an ancient harvest festival in the Punjab region and commemorates the founding of the Sikh nation in 1699. It also marks the Hindu solar new year and is observed by people of different faiths across the sub-continent. 

Visitors from across the country will swell the crowds, with up to 20,000 people expected on the day. 

Resham Singh Sandu, Leicestershire's first Sikh high sheriff and chairman of the county's Interfaith Forum, said: "Vaisakhi is a very special festival in the Sikh calendar – a time of fulfilment and giving thanks, and looking forward to the year ahead. 

"The procession will be a very lively and happy occasion, full of colour, music and dancing. 

"It's a chance for all the different cultures and faiths in Leicester and Leicestershire to come together. It's also a great showcase for the city." 

The three-hour parade will begin at about 11am at the Guru Nanak Gurdwara Sikh temple, in Holy Bones, off Vaughan Way. It will go through the city finishing at the Guru Bahadur Gurdwara temple, in East Park Road. 

Vaisakhi fell on Thursday, April 14, this year, but the procession has been held over until Sunday so as many people as possible can take part. 

Several hundred people gathered at the Holy Bones temple on Thursday – marking the end of six days of non-stop recitals from the Guru Granth Sahib, the Sikh holy book. 

Temple vice-chairman Sulakhal Singh Dard said: "From early in the morning, the hall was full of people celebrating and bringing respect to the temple. At one point in the day, we must have had more than 500 people." 

The parade will travel along Great Central Street, Vaughan Way, St Nicholas Circle, Peacock Lane, St Martins, Greyfriars, Berridge Street, Pocklingtons Walk and Welford Place, along King Street, Regent Road, Granville Road, Evington Road, into East Park Road.

Read the article on the Mercury website, along with reader comments:

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