Sunny celebrations

Crowds gathered at Chapeltonw Sikh temple to celebrate Vaisakhi - one of the most significant events in the Sikh calendar. The festival commemorates the establishment of the Khalsa in 1699, which is the collective body of all baptized Sikhs. After prayers were said at the temple, an elaborately decorated float made its way along the route into town. Children were also carried in a separate colourful float and when the procession reached Millennium Square they sang hymns and performed the traditional martial art of Gatka.

I covered the event for the Asian Express newspaper and as well as snapping all the festivities with my camera, I got the chance to speak to some of the people there about what Vaisakhi meant to them.

Religious Secretary of the Sikh Temple in Chapeltown Balraj Singh said: "Today is a celebration of the establishment of the Khalsa. We celebrate every year and start the procession from the temple and work our way into town. I've been working closely with the children and when we get to Millennium Square in Leeds city centre we will be singing hymns there and they will be performing Sikh martial arts.

"A range of people are at this festival and that's the whole essence of vaisakhi - equality as everybody can take part and anybody can take part no matter what race or gender. It is not just the sikh community but the wider community coming together too and celebrating freedom and equality. That is why it is so important to every single Sikh here today. That is one of the reasons we wear orange, to remember the sacrifices that people have made in the past for freedom so that we can celebrate today. It's about everyone getting together and enjoying themselves and remembering equality."

To read the full article at The Asian Express newspaper site, please click here and visit pages 14-15.

Sunny celebrations