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Vaisakhi 2017: Sikh festival brings HUGE parade before mela at Handsworth Park

Pictures and video from today's parade on the biggest day of the Sikh calender

If you're looking for the biggest party in Birmingham this weekend look no further.

Thousands were in the party mood for Vaisakhi today - the biggest event in the Sikh calender.

Two parades took place through the city - culminating in yet more festivities in Handsworth Park.

Vaisakhi marks the start of the new year and also the anniversary of the founding of the Khalsa - the order into which all followers are baptised or initiated.

There were two parades in Birmingham today.

The larger procession sets off from the Gurdwara Ramgarhia Sikh Temple in Graham Street, Hockley, at 10am, arriving at Handsworth Park at 1pm.

The 2.3-mile route takes in Vyse Street, Hockley Flyover, Soho Hill, Soho Road and Grove Lane. It calls at other Sikh temples along the way to collect more worshippers as it aims for the park.

The other procession sets off from Gurdwara Baba Sang in St Paul's Road, Warley, at 9.30am and arrives at the park at 2pm after travelling along a 3.4 mile route including St Paul’s Road, High Street, Holyhead Road and Rookery Road.

At the head of each procession is the Guru Granth Sahib (The Holy Book of Revelation) led by five Sikhs dressed in ceremonial costume to represent the five original Panj Pyare (The Beloved Ones) who founded the order of the Khalsa and established Sikhism as a collective faith.

The park festivities in Handsworth are expected to carry on until around 6.30pm.

This event will include Sikh cultural activities, a children’s play area, arts and crafts exhibitions and sports and entertainment on the bandstand stage.

There will be a Langar (a community kitchen in a marquee where free food is served), which is an important part of the Sikh faith with food being prepared by the various gurdwaras (places of worship) from across Birmingham and the Black Country.

An area for worship (Darbar) will be an important focal point and will be open to all communities to visit and understand the Sikh faith.

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