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Last Updated: Saturday, 10 May, 2003, 13:42 GMT 14:42 UK
Sikhs celebrate harvest festival
Sikh parade
Sikhs in traditional dress at a Vaisakhi parade

The Sikh community of south Wales congregated in Cardiff on Saturday to celebrate one of the most important dates in their religious calendar.

The Sikh Association of South Wales held a social evening at the Coal Exchange in the Bay to celebrate the harvest festival of Vaisakhi.

It also marked the Sikh new year and the anniversary of the order of the Khalsa, which was formed in 1699 to defend Sikhs against persecution.

Although followers of the faith have already celebrated the religious side of the festival on 14 April, the event in Cardiff was an opportunity for the community to socialise and celebrate their culture.

We have invited Bollywood and Punjabi style singers as well as a group of traditional dancers
Perminderjit Mudher

Organiser Perminderjit Mudher from Cardiff said it was meant to be a fun evening.

"There will be a sit down dinner followed by dancing and entertainment," she said.

"We have invited Bollywood and Punjabi style singers as well as a group of traditional dancers.

"The aim is to have a night of relaxation and fun."

There are two Gurudwara - Sikh temples - in Cardiff and the Sikh Association of South Wales has about 100 members.

But about 250 people from all over Wales and England, from within and outside the religion, joined them on Saturday evening.

Sikhism is the youngest of the world religions, barely 500 years old, and was founded by Guru Nanak at a time when India was being torn apart by castes, sectarianism, religious factions, and fanaticism.

There are now about 20 million Sikhs worldwide, mostly living in the Sikh homeland of the Punjab.

But Britain is home to about 750,000 devotees - the largest community of Sikhs outside India.

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