STREETS in Southampton became a sea of colour as thousands of people celebrated the Sikh festival of Vaisakhi on Sunday.

People from across the country gathered in the city to celebrate what it is regarded as the holiest day of the calendar.

The event honours the birth of the Sikh Nation in 1699 and marks and promotes equality and unity of humanity.

It takes the form of continuous reading of the Sikh Scripture, the Guru Granth Sahib Ji and it has seen thousands of people bringing colours, vibrant music and traditional food to the streets.

Guests arrived outside the Southampton Civic Centre at 9.30am for the raising of the Sikh National flag called the Nishan Sahib, along with Mayor of Southampton Cathie McEwing.

The climax of the festival was the procession that started from Gurdwara Nanaksar in Peterborough Road and carried on through the streets in the city centre.

Cllr Satvir Kaur, cabinet member for communities, culture and leisure, took part to the event and said: “It is a great festival.

“Even today we have people from all different faiths come together to celebrate the Sikh new year. Southampton is a great city because of its diversity.

“It’s great that we are so united.”

Kamaljeet Singh, 36, member of the Sikh community, from Southampton, said: “I am very happy about how the event went. So many people came to celebrate Vasakhi.

“I didn’t expected so many people to come.”