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Over 1,000 take part in Reading Nagar Kirtan

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    More than 1,000 worshippers joined together for the end of celebrations to mark Vaisakhi – the holiest day in the Sikh calendar.

    Vaisakh is celebrated on April 14 each year.

    A few weeks after this Nagar Kirtan, which means neighbourhood hymn-singing in Punjabi, is held.

    On Sunday Sikhs in Reading, Wokingham and West Berkshire walked through the town for about four hours to mark Nagar Kirtan.

    The procession started at the Sikh temple, Siri Guru Singh Sabha Gurdwara, in Cumberland Road at 11am and followed a route through Wokingham Road and Church Road.

    It stopped off at Reading’s other Sikh temple, Ramgarhia Sabha Gurdwara, in London Road before it finished back at Cumberland Road at 3pm.

    For the first time, this year’s Nagar Kirtan, Reading’s seventh, was led by young children.

    Lines of boys and girls guided the procession through Reading.

    Meanwhile, the Sikh’s holy scripture was carried on a decorated float. Sikhs sang divine hymns as they walked.

    Parminder Singh, who helped organise this year’s event, said it went fantastically. Speaking to the Evening Post, he said: “The procession this year was much larger than the previous six years and we had Sikh communities from outside Reading and Wokingham attending as well.

    “The fire brigade and Thames Valley Police joined in as well as Reading East MP Rob Wilson who accompanied the procession.”

    Overall about 1,500 people joined the procession wearing gold, orange or yellow to create a colourful reminder of their religious roots. In Sikhism the use of orange acts as the colour of the new harvest.

    Representatives of the community walked barefoot as they carried out a ceremonial sweeping with brooms and rose water.

    Others clutched ceremonial swords and flags as they marched through the streets.

    Mr Singh, 47, said: “It was very colourful and bigger than normal.

    “It is all about getting the community together. It was a great day and everyone enjoyed themselves.”

    -By Anna Roberts
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