Hundreds join parade
PEOPLE filled the streets for the annual Sikh Nagar Kirtan parade.
The festival, celebrated by Sikhs worldwide, marked the 361st anniversary of the birth of the eighth Guru of the Sikh faith, Sri Guru Harkrishan Sahib Ji.
In Middlesbrough, hundreds lined the streets to watch as the celebration parade made its way from the Temple in Lorne Street, where prayers were read, before setting off to the sound of drummers and the singing of hymns.
Leading the parade were groups of Sewadar – men and women who sprayed the road with water followed by groups with sweeping brushes ahead of a float carrying priests and the Sikh holy scriptures, the Guru Granth Sahib.
Sikhs consider the Guru Granth Sahib to be a living guru and so the road is swept clean ahead of it, as would be practice for a king.
Ahead of the float, five men representing the Panj Pyare – the Five Beloved – walked barefoot and carrying swords.
There were also displays of martial arts, the singing of hymns and prayer while more Sewadar volunteers handed food and drinks to those watching from the road side.
The procession made its way along Derwent Street, Union Street, Borough Road, Albert Road before finally arriving at Centre Square where speeches were made and a community meal was served.
Originating in the Punjab and with up to 28 million followers worldwide, Sikhism is the ninth-largest religion in the world. Sikhs number 423,000 in the UK, according to the 2011 census.
The parade through Middlesbrough’s streets was attended by Sikhs from across the North-east and welcomed people of all faiths.
The Sikh Nagar Kirtan procession to Centre Square, Middlesbrough
Above and below, in traditional costumes