Thousands expected to parade through Leeds' streets for colourful celebration of Vaisakhi

Thousands are set to attend Leeds' annual Vaisakhi Parade when it returns to the city on Saturday.

Date:15th April 2017.
Vaisakhi Festival, Leeds.
Date:15th April 2017. Vaisakhi Festival, Leeds.

Celebrating the Sikh faith’s solar new year, the parade will make its way from Chapeltown to Millennium Square.

Every year Leeds’ streets are filled with festivity as the Sikh faith honors one of the holiest days in its calendar. The spring harvest festival marks the inauguration of the Khalsa - the collective body of all initiated Sikhs - by Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.

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With more than 5,000 expected to attend this year, excitement is in the air. Ghagan Singh, General Secretary of the Sikh Temple on Chapeltown Road, said: “The procession will start in Chapeltown and will stop off at four Sikh temples on the way, before ending up at Millennium Square.

Date:15th April 2017. Vaisakhi Festival, Leeds.

“We decorate with flowers, everything looks really nice. We’re all excited, it’s been going on for about 34 years in Leeds, I’ve been going since I was little, it’s a whole family occasion.”

Setting off from The Sikh Temple on Chapeltown Road at 10am the parade will then visit the Gurdwara Hargobind Sahib Ji on Harehills Lane; the Gurdwara Guru Kalgidhar Sahib on Cowper Street; and the Ramgarhia Board Gurdwara, also on Chapeltown Road. The procession will continue to Millennium Square where it should arrive at 1pm.

Martial arts, free vegetarian food, singing and dancing will be taking place in Millennium Square from 1pm until 3pm, before the parade then returns to the Sikh Temple at around 4pm.

All are invited to the celebration. Mr Singh said: “Everyone is welcome, our religion is about equality and we are giving everyone an open invite.”

Date:15th April 2017. Vaisakhi Festival, Leeds.