The Sikh festival of Vaisakhi was celebrated in Leicester as thousands turned up to commemorate one of the largest religious festivals in the county as a huge burst of colour and culture flooded the streets in a huge public procession.

The annual event was louder and prouder than ever as the Sikh community came out in full force for the first time since the pandemic.

After two years of toned down festivities, many expressed their happiness at being able to "properly" celebrate the event.

Beginning at Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Holy Bones, St Nicholas Circle, the congregation travelled through the city during the three hour parade on a day dedicated to the formation of the Khalsa panth of warriors (the spiritual path of Sikh society) under Guru Gobind Singh in 1699.

Crowds began gathering for the parade, which went through High Street, Humberstone Gate, Charles Street, St George’s Way, Swain Street and St Peter's Road before ending at East Park Road, North Evington.

The festival, which doubles as a spring harvest festival and is also, celebrated by Hindus and other faith communities, with many coming out for the first time in years to see the festivities with big smiles and colourful traditional Indian outfits. One of the many who was part of the day’s celebrations explained the important behind the event and said how happy she was to be able to attend saying: "I usually work on Sundays so I've not been able to come in recent years. But when my kids were all little we came every year and it's just so nice.

“I'm so happy to be here and see everyone in congregation singing the religious hymns. It's lovely. It’s nice to be able to dress up and celebrate our wonderful and generous community."