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Hundreds gather in Birmingham for Vaisakhi procession

Hundreds of Sikhs took to the streets in Birmingham today to celebrate the festival of Vaisakhi.

The procession started at the Ramgarhia Temple Credit: Sikh Press Association

Revellers gathered at the Ramgarhia Sikh Temple in the city's Jewellery Quarter before setting off on a procession.

We asked some attendees why the festival is so important to them.

Mansfield declares itself birthplace of Quaker religion

A new heritage trail will be launched in Mansfield tomorrow as the town declares itself the birthplace of the Quaker religion.

George Fox, the founder of the Quaker religion lived in Mansfield Credit: ITV News Central

Its founder George Fox lived in Mansfield during the 1640s and it is where he started the religion. There are now an estimated 350,000 Quakers worldwide.

There are eight locations in Mansfield with links to the Quaker movement, including the site of the former home of George Fox who founded the Quakers in 1643.

Other buildings still present include the Almhouses, built in 1661 for Quaker families, the Metal Box factory clock tower and St Peter and St Paul's Church, where George Fox recorded having his first 'revelation'.

Thousands turn out for Vaisakhi celebrations

Vaisakhi celebrations watched by crowds in Birmingham Credit: Punjab2000.com

Organisers of a special Vaisakhi celebration held in Birmingham city centre over the weekend say around 15,000 people from all communities came to watch and take part in festivities.

Victoria Square hosted the city's big Vaisakhi celebration event, the first time a religious event of this size was held there. It was hosted by Walsall-based charity Midland Langar Seva Society (MLSS), who feed hundreds of people in need every night across the region, in accordance with the Sikh system of a free kitchen called Langar.

Organisers say many attending told them they hope it will become an annual event for Birmingham city centre.

"It was a really great day for all. We hope that people learned something about our faith. It is a blessing to be able to serve our community like this".

– Midland Langar Sewa Society

"Events such as this are an excellent way to open up dialogue between different communities..the general public got to be part of a celebration which is most dear to Sikhs. Learning about each other we can appreciate different cultures, strengthening unity within our society.”

– Jagmeet Singh, Sikh educational charity Everythings 13

Click here for more coverage of Vaisakhi parades in the Midlands.

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Vaisakhi food drive hopes to benefit those hit hardest by economic climate

Members of the Sikh community are collecting tons of food donations, which they hope will benefit people who are being 'hard hit by the current existing economic climate'.

The Food Drive comes ahead of Vaisakhi day this Tuesday, which aims to reflect the Sikh faith principle of Seva (Selfless Service).

Sikh community collect tons of food for people in need

Hundreds of supporters have gathered in Leicester to help take in the food donations. Credit: ITV News Central
Members of the community work together to sort the donations. Credit: ITV News Central
The food will be distributed to people in need at local food banks. Credit: ITV News Central

Sikhs to mark Vaisakhi day by collecting food for local charities

Last year people donated thousands of pounds worth of food to a Sikh temple. Credit: ITV News Central

This year Vaisakhi day falls on Tuesday 14th April and prior to this, the Sikh community of Leicester will be marking the day by holding a food drive.

Today, the event will be held at Guru Tegh Bahadur Gurdwara on East Park Road, running from 10am to 5pm.

A large attendance is expected and a collection target of well in excess of 10 tonnes has been set.

Vaisakhi is the most important day in the Sikh calendar and marks the formation of the Sikh community in 1699.

Central to the Sikh faith is the underpinning principle of Seva (Selfless Service).

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