IT is one of the biggest religious festivals in Southampton.

Thousands of people from across the south have descended upon the city for the past 30 years, to help the Sikh community celebrate the biggest event in their religious calendar, Vaisakhi.

But this year, a Southampton gurdwara is aiming to get even more people involved in the festivities, by hosting its first ever Vaisakhi Meet and Greet evening.

The Gurdwara Nanaksar, in Peterborough Road, has invited hundreds of people from across Southampton to the inaugural event on Saturday March 31, including civic chiefs, MPs, police and local businesses.

They have even invited faith leaders from different religions to the evening, to find out more about the Vaisakhi celebrations.

Organisers say they want to explain to the wider community what the festival is all about and encourage them to get involved with this year’s celebrations, which take place on Sunday April 15.

Ranjeet Shahi, one of the organisers of the evening, said: “We want to try and create more dialogue between the different communities and businesses that live in our city.

“For the last 30 years we have held our parade through the city, but a lot of local people and businesses who live on the route aren’t really aware that we want them to get involved too.

“People will see the parade and not know what it’s all about, but this event is designed to explain why we do this and invite everyone to get involved.”

For more information on the meet and greet evening, which runs from 5pm until 7pm on Saturday March 31, email Ranjeet Shahi at ranjeet@rsout