Baisakhi also known as Vaisakhi is a festival that celebrates the Sikh New Year and also commemorates the the founding of the Sikh community, known as the Khalsa, in 1699. It is also a harvest festival in Punjab. The auspicious festival of Baisakhi is celebrated on first day of Vaisakh month according to the Nanakshahi calendar as it marks the sun’s entry into Mesh Rashi.
Baisakhi : History and significance
Baisakhi has great significance for the Sikh community. It was on this day that Guru Gobind Singh who was the tenth Guru of the Sikhs laid the foundation for Khalsa at Punjab's Anandpur Sahib, in 1699. He ordered on this day the tradition of gurus will be discontinued and Adi Granth Sahib the holy book will be the permanent and eternal guru. He formed the order of khalsa by giving nectar or amrit to the first batch of five fearless men known as Paanj Pyares and making them singhs. Even today the tradition of Sikh baptism during the Vaisakhi festival is followed which originated from this historic event.
Buddhist also celebrate this day will great fervour because it was on this day that Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment at Bodhgaya. This day is also of special significance to Hindus because it was on this day in the year 1875 that Swami Dayananda Saraswati laid the foundation for the Arya Samaj.
It is also a major harvest festival for Punjabi. It is a time to harvest the winter or Rabi crops. Hence it is also a significant day for the farmers.
How is Baisakhi Celebrated
Baisakhi is celebrated with great vigour in the vibrant and colourful state of Punjab. Since this day is of great significance to the Sikhs, they attend special prayers organised in the gurudwaras on this day. The Granth Sahib is bathed with milk and water, placed on a throne. The holy book is read to the devotees on this day. Five priests chant verses recited by the five beloved ones and Amrit or holy nectar is prepared in an iron vessel and is distributed amongst all gathered devotees. Religious discourses and Kirtans are held at gurudwaras and Karah Prasad is distributed. Then Langar is served and in in the evening the Granth Sahib is taken out in a procession headed by the Paanj Piaras.
Baisakhi is also celebrated with great enthusiasm by the farmers. On this day farmers pay a visit to the temple or gurudwara to express their gratitude for this year’s harvest and seek blessings. They dress up in colourful attire and perform the energetic bhangra and gidda dance to the beats of the dhol. Various Baisakhi Fairs are held on this day.