Baisakhi or Vaisakhi, a Punjabi harvest festival falls every year on April 13. For many centuries, farmers observe this day to thank the Almighty for the bountiful harvest and pray for future prosperity. The festival also marks the beginning of the Sikh New Year. Baisakhi also holds a great significance for Sikhs as on this day in 1699, the tenth guru of Sikh, Guru Gobind Singh founded the ‘Khalsa Panth’ at a huge gathering of believers in the wake to onslaught the religious oppression by Mughal rulers.
While addressing the gathering, Guru Gobind said he needed warriors like Guru Tegh Bahadur to save Sikhism from Mughal onslaught. He stood with a sword and asked his community members to show valour. One among the listeners, Bhai Daya Singh, stood up. He was taken behind a curtain by Guru Gobind Singh. After a short while, Guru returned with a sword dipped in blood. Bhai Daya Singh was not with him. People feared that Guru Gobind has killed him.
Vaisakhi is a spring harvest festival and is an ancient festival of Hindus, it is celebrated by different names in the different regions of the country but with the same essence and significance of marking the Solar New Year and the sacredness of the rivers. Vaisakhi marks the beginning of the new spring year and the end of the harvest of Rabi crop in India. The festival is celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm in an agriculture-dominated state of Punjab and Haryana. To celebrate the day, people wake up early and take a dip in the holy rivers. Soon after, cries of “Jatta aai Baisakhi” rent the skies as the people of Punjab attired in their best clothes break into the Bhangra dance to express their joy. The auspicious date of Baisakhi is celebrated as ‘Rongali Bihu’ in Assam, ‘Naba Barsha’ in Bengal, ‘Puthandu’ in Tamil Nadu, ‘Pooram Vishu’ in Kerala and ‘Vaishakha’ in Bihar.
The festival is celebrated as a collective birthday of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh and the foundation of the Khalsa (the Sikh brotherhood) in 1699. Sikhs all over the world celebrate the day with a lot of enthusiasm and joy.
On Baisakhi, the Sikhs and Punjabis hold fairs and melas, visit Gurudwaras to pay respect and take out the procession to celebrate the festival. These processions are called Nagar kirtans and mark this special festival.
Happy Baisakhi 2019!