Thousands set to converge on Bradford for colourful procession

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Sikh swordbearers at Nagar Kirtan Sikh swordbearers at Nagar Kirtan

The annual Sikh celebration of Vaisakhi is set to be bigger than ever this year, with Bradford’s streets being transformed through a vibrant colourful procession tomorrow.

Drum rolls and a sea of orange will fill the city’s streets as the Sikh custom, Nagar Kirtan, takes place.

Nagar means “town,” and Kirtan is the “singing of spiritual hymns”.

Last year’s event saw more than 10,000 people join the celebrations, which are held to remember centuries of tradition and the birth of the Sikh faith.

The parade will take place from 10.30am to about 2pm, taking in five Sikh temples across the city along the five-mile route. The procession will start and finish from the Gurdwara Guru Nanak Dev Ji, in Usher Street, off Wakefield Road.

It will also take in 20-minute stops at the Guru Gobind Singh Gurdwara, off Leeds Road, the Gurdwara Singh Sabha, on Grant Street, the Ramgarhia Sikh Gurdwara, on Bolton Road, and the Gurdwara Amrit Parchar Dharmik Diwan, on Peckover Street. The centrepiece of the procession, which will be displayed on a float, will be the Guru Granth Sahib Ji, the Sikh holy book.

Also in the parade will be five bearers of the Nishan Sahib, the Sikh holy flag, and a five-strong guard of honour.

Vaisakhi is the most important Sikh religious and social festival, and Sikhs from across the county congregate in Bradford to celebrate what will be the 315th anniversary this year. It is both the Sikh New Year Festival and the anniversary of the founding of the Khalsa in 1688 by the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.

On April 13, 1699, the first day of Vaisakhi, the tenth Guru Gobind Singh Ji transformed the Sikh community into the Khalsa Order, or saint-soldiers.

A spokesman for the 2014 celebrations said: “The Nagar Kirtan is a time where once a year we can all forget about our stresses and strains in life and walk side-by-side with our brothers and sisters of the Khalsa Panith.”

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