Reading Sikh street parade returns after five years

An annual Sikh street procession has been staged in a town for the first time in five years.

The Nagar Kirtan parade was held in Reading from 2002 until 2019 before stopping because of the Covid pandemic.

About 2,000 priests and worshippers joined the procession from Cumberland Road to London Road earlier.

The event celebrates the festival of Vaisakhi, which marks the founding of the Sikh community, the Khalsa, in 1699.

The parade included prayers and the singing of hymns as well as flag-waving and martial arts displays.

Organiser Gurpal Singh said: "In British society Sikhs have been well integrated for many years.

"We have fought wars together and have seen good and bad times together. But still it's about educating people."

Avi Kaur Birdi, who attended, said: "With people leading busy lives it's not always easy to see the community, so coming to one place to mark a huge festival makes me feel really happy to be with my family and friends."

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