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Vibrant Sikh procession in Ipswich celebrates 10th Guru’s birthday

Participants at the Sikh festival in Ipswich town centre. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Participants at the Sikh festival in Ipswich town centre. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Ipswich’s Sikh community held a colourful procession though the town on Sunday in celebration of their 10th Guru’s birthday.

A number of local dignitaries took part in the celebration. Picture: SARAH LUCY  BROWNA number of local dignitaries took part in the celebration. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Starting at the Sikh temple in Bramford Road, the vibrant procession made its way through Ipswich to the Town Hall on the Cornhill.

Holy hymns from scripture were sung as part of the custom of Nagar Kirtan, where Sikhs take their scripture to the public.

The event was one of many all over the globe celebrating the 350th birthday of Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh Guru.

The Sikh festival in Ipswich town centre. Picture: SARAH LUCY  BROWNThe Sikh festival in Ipswich town centre. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

Temple secretary Jaspal Singh said the event aimed to bring together people from all the different communities in the town.

“The event was not for our community, it is for all communities,” he said.

“It was open to everyone in Ipswich and brought all faiths together.

Ajmer Singh at the Sikh festival. Picture: SARAH LUCY  BROWNAjmer Singh at the Sikh festival. Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

“It was an event with a good spirit enjoyed by everyone.

“It was brilliant.

“Most people see a Sikh in a turban and wonder what it is about.

Asha Kaur and Krishna Kaur at the Sikh festival in the Cornhill. Picture: SARAH lUCY BROWNAsha Kaur and Krishna Kaur at the Sikh festival in the Cornhill. Picture: SARAH lUCY BROWN

“This was a way of saying we live here in Ipswich, come and see us.”

Mayor Sarah Barber, MP Sandy Martin and Councillor David Ellesmere were among the dignitaries who joined in the festivities once the procession reached the Cornhill.

Food was a big part of the celebration with those who attended treated to all manner of delicious treats.

Mr Singh said: “We were there giving out snacks, fruit and food and bottles of water to people.

“We gave around 1,000 bags of snacks away.

“When the procession ended at the Cornhill we had free ice cream for people too.

“It is based around the Langar - a free communal meal for everyone.

“Everyone who eats is equal.”

The crowds were also treated to displays of the martial art Gatka.

Mr Singh said he was delighted by the reaction the event had from the crowds in Ipswich.

He said: “The last time we held this event was 17 years ago.

“Because we are only a small community it is not something we do in the town every year.

“But it has now gone so well it will be something we will be looking to do again in a couple of years time.”

For more on the Sikh temple see www.ipswichgurdwara.com

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