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Page last updated at 13:18 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 14:18 UK
Celebrating Vaisakhi with Leicester Sikhs

BBC Leicester presenter John Florance
By John Florance
Presenter, BBC Leicester

Sikhs celebrating Vaisakhi
The Vaisakhi procession takes place on Sunday 18 April 2010 in Leicester

Wednesday 14 April 2010 was the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi, the Spring celebration which is perhaps the most important in the Sikh calendar.

This Spring festival is an ancient one.

It is a harvest celebration in the Punjab and it also marks beginning of a new solar year.

It also commemorates the establishment of the religion as we know it today.

I visited the Guru Nanak Gurdwara, Holy Bones and enjoyed the religious devotions and festivities.

It is the first established Gurdwara in the city and is now is linked to a community centre, museum and school.

The first thing that struck me was the huge number of folk attending. There were many family groups and all ages were represented.

And everyone seemed to be dressed in their best. The eye delighting-colours of the clothes were wonderful.

Colourful flavours

In the temple hall itself, people listened to readings from the Sikh scriptures, sermons were preached and everyone joined in prayers.

I didn't understand what was being said, but big screens relayed the gist of the service in English. The chanting of the scriptures, especially, was mesmeric.

Vaisakhi parade leaders

Sikhs are known for their hospitality and generosity expressed through the provision of food.

Their Gurdwaras provide delicious free food for visitors and the one I visited was no exception.

The small of exotic cooking spices drifted through the temple like the smell of incense in a Christian church.

The food was delicious.

I spoke to a number of the worshipers and many said that they would be visiting other temples during the day.

Like Christmas, this is a family celebration and all said that they would be enjoying a special family meal together.

I much enjoyed my visit to the temple on this special day and the welcome I received was touching.

Leicester's Vaisakhi parade takes place on Sunday 18 April 2010, starting at 11:30 from the Guru Nanak Gurdwara on Holy Bones. For more information see our weekend guide

Sikh procession to attract 15,000
15 Apr 10 |  Leicestershire
Presenter profile: John Florance
14 Sep 09 |  TV & Radio



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