Bradford turns orange for Vaisakhi celebrations


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PARADE: The role of the Panj Pyare - the 'Five Beloved' of Sikh history - is symbolised here by five members of the modern Khalsa as they lead the procession (Photo cred: Jag Kalsi)

PARADE: The role of the Panj Pyare - the 'Five Beloved' of Sikh history - is symbolised here by five members of the modern Khalsa as they lead the procession (Photo cred: Jag Kalsi)

Punjabi New Year sees thousands turn out for holy parade

Thousands of Sikhs dressed in orange made their way through Bradford on Sunday for the harvest festival marking Punjabi New Year.

The annual festival is one of the most sacred days in the Sikh calendar and marks the creation of the Khalsa - the Sikh order into which all followers are baptised or initiated.
Jag Kalsi, a photojournalist from Leeds and devoted Sikh – attended celebrations on Sunday.

ORANGE: For Sikhs, Orange is the colour of connection, a sense of community and belonging. Here the Nishan Sahib is cleaned by members of the congregation (Photo cred: Jag Kalsi)

ORANGE: For Sikhs, Orange is the colour of connection, a sense of community and belonging. Here the Nishan Sahib is cleaned by members of the congregation (Photo cred: Jag Kalsi)

He reports: “Vaisakhi was on Wednesday but Ramgarhia Sikh Gurdwara – the Bolton Road Temple – was part of the celebration on the Sunday, as it’s when everyone can get together.

“We got there in the morning and had breakfast in a big congregation. We dined on samosa with chole and tea.

“After, we then sat down in the Diwan hall and prayed together. Then it was time to prepare for the parade to turn up at our temple.

INTERFAITH: People of all faiths celebrated the holy day (Photo cred: Jag Kalsi)

INTERFAITH: People of all faiths celebrated the holy day (Photo cred: Jag Kalsi)

“If you’re not familiar with the parade, all the temples get together in Bradford and we walk from temple to temple, which takes around four hours. It’s quite an extensive walk.

“We prepared the outside area for the massive parade. Loads of local businesses donated food, snacks, drinks and crisps for people to enjoy and get refuelled.

“The temple did a Langar meal which is purely vegetarian and included rotis, chapattis, chickpeas and Karah-parshad.

EXOTIC: A falcon is seen enjoying its day out for one of the holiest days in the Sikh calendar (Photo cred: Jag Kalsi)

EXOTIC: A falcon is seen enjoying its day out for one of the holiest days in the Sikh calendar (Photo cred: Jag Kalsi)

“The food was packed into take-out containers. If you fancied something spicy, then you could pick that up.

“The parade stopped off at the temple and we all prayed again. Drums were playing in one corner and exotic birds of prey were on show, which is symbolic of the tenth master Guru Gobind Sing Ji, who had many titles, one of them being ‘the keeper of the white falcon’.

“It was a fantastic day all round.”

HUGE TURN OUT: Crowds of Sikhs walked for up to four hours from temple to temple (Photo cred: Jag Kalsi)

HUGE TURN OUT: Crowds of Sikhs walked for up to four hours from temple to temple (Photo cred: Jag Kalsi)

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