SIKHS from across the country gathered in Southampton in their hundreds yesterday to celebrate what it is regarded as the holiest day of the Sikh calendar.

Vaisakhi marks the birth of the Sikh Nation, which formed in 1699, and is the day when the tenth guru Khalse created the Sikh religion.

The procession that started from the Singh Sabha Gurdwara in Cranbury Avenue carried on through the streets in the city centre. The procession is usually followed by a vegetarian meal at the Gurdwara.

Gurvander Singh, 32, travelled from Bognor Regis to attend the city’s festival. He said: “The festival promotes equality and unity of humanity.

“Food is an important part of the day as it goes back to the idea that if you are hungry you will not be able to concentrate and therefore you won’t be able to pray.”

Labour Councilor, Satvir Kaur posted on Twitter: ”Despite the rain, thousands came to Southampton today to celebrate Vaisakhi and take part in our colourful procession - honoured to speak and kick start things with fellow colleagues and friends... #community #citypride”