Colour and togetherness at Sikh parade

A community came together to celebrate a significant anniversary in the Sikh faith.

Thousands of worshippers came to the centre of Oldbury on Sunday, ahead of a parade put together to celebrate the 550th birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji.

Guru Nanak Dev Ji was the founder of Sikhism and the first of the 10 Sikh Gurus, with his spiritual teaching laying the foundations on which Sikhism was formed.

Celebrations of the anniversary of his birth have been taking place all over the world, with this parade a major part of celebrations in Sandwell.

With excellent weather conditions helping to draw in a large crowd, prayers were made on Civic Square in Oldbury before the parade began to wind its way around the streets of Oldbury and Smethwick...

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...Call centre worker Sarah Patel, 35, of Hugh Road, Smethwick, swept the roads in front of the lorry carrying the holy scriptures, which headed the procession, all the way from Oldbury.

“It made me feel good,” she said. “There was so much love, people from all communities were waving to us.

“I hugged one of the vicars who came to wave outside her church.

“I can honestly say it’s the one day that it doesn’t matter what age or religion you are, or where you come from, no one judges you, it’s just about love.”

She added: I didn’t expect so many people to be here, it’s been amazing, and for some of us, quite emotional.”...

...Not everyone who took part was from the Sikh community. People of all faiths were welcomed.

NHS researcher Jacqueline Smart, 55, from Bearwood, said: I came because we’re local. I’ve lived here since 1989. I’ve been lucky enough to travel a lot, including to India, so I can appreciate a lot of what is going on.

“Also for me, I’ve got friends who are Sikhs so it’s nice to come and be a part of their celebrations.”

Lecturer Lorraine Phoenix, 46, of Hurst Road, Smethwick, agreed. She said: “I’m celebrating my community, it’s a privilege to be here.

“I work at Sandwell College, so this is really important to me, to experience what my colleagues and students have experienced.”

Both women took part in the procession from Manor Road, and brought their children with them. “People have embraced us for taking part,” said Mrs Phoenix.

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