Baisakhi Festival - The Harvest Festival of Punjab

 

Baisakhi is the festival that is celebrated with great vitality and excitement in the state of Punjab and the other States of India. It is usually celebrated on April 13 or April 14 every year.

 

It is a very significant festival for the Sikh religion. On this day, the tenth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh formed the Khalsa Panth.

 

At Anandpur Sahib, Guru Gobind Singh selected five fearless leaders among his followers. These five leaders were prepared to save the lives of others. The reason was to ignite courage in people to defend religious freedom during the rule of the Mughal empire in India.

 

Farmers celebrate this day when Rabi crops are ready for harvesting and offer prayers for an abundant harvest in the coming year.

 

Solar New Year also starts on Baisakhi day, so this festival is also famous among the Hindu community. This vibrant festival also marks the commencement of the Sikh New Year.

 

Baisakhi also marks the day on which the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre was done on gathering, which eventually led to the Indian movement against colonial rule.

 

It is celebrated all over India but with different names.

 

Rongali Bihu in Assam

Vishu in Kerala

Pohela Boishakh in West Bengal

Puthandu in Tamil Nadu 

Baisakhi Celebrations

The Baisakhi celebration starts with going to Gurudwaras early in the morning, offering prayers and getting blessings. At Anandpur Sahib Gurudwara in Punjab, people celebrate this with immense joy and happiness.

 

Gurudwaras are decorated, traditional songs, kirtans from Guru Granth Sahib, are recited in various Gurudwaras. Religious processions called Nagar Kirtan are being led by the Panj Piaras (five holy men).

 

People distribute ‘Kada Prasad’ among themselves. People eat Langar together.

 

The ritual of Kar Sewa is also performed. Kar sewa is the process of offering physical labour to assist in the everyday jobs of the Gurudwara. It is a traditional symbol of modesty for the Sikh community.

 

People buy new, brightly coloured clothes for this auspicious occasion. Worships are made on the bank of rivers and streams.

 

There are fairs and Melas at various places all over the state. People make a wide range of Punjabi delicacies. Other local food items and sweets are also cooked and eaten during the festival.

 

Family members have dinner together and enjoy themselves by performing the famous folk dance of the state Punjab-Bhangra. Women take part in a lot of hops as well known as Gidda.

These dances are performed on the beat of traditional music, which makes people more energetic and excited and keeps the folk culture of Punjab alive in the hearts of the people of Punjab

The value of family and togetherness is the main aspect of this festival

Baisakhi Celebrations by Farmers

Baisakhi, also known as Vaishakhi, Vaisakhi or Vaisakhi is celebrated on the thirteenth day of April according to the solar calendar.

 

This day marks the beginning of the Hindu solar new year. The name ‘Baisakhi’ originates from ‘Baisakh’ the first month as per the Bikram Sambat Hindu calendar.

 

This Sikh festival is celebrated with great zeal and enthusiasm by Hindus and Sikhs alike. There are fairs and Melas at various places all over the state. People enjoy themselves singing and dancing, performing the famous folk dance of the state Punjab-Bhangra.

Story of Baisakhi

History of Baisakhi began when Guru Tegh Bahadur, the ninth guru of Sikh, was beheaded publicly by then Mughal emperor Aurangzeb. Aurangzeb was forcibly converting people of a different religion to Islam by embarking a policy of religious harassment. He started unethical religious taxes against Hindus and their sacred place. He had thought if Hindu Brahmins, particularly from Kashmir, will accept Isalm, the others will follow.

On Baisakhi day, March 30, 1699, thousands of people gathered near Anandpur Sahib. To protect the religious rights of Hindus and Sikhs and to motivate people against the woeful condition created by Aurangzeb, Guru Gobind Singh, in the year 1699 addressed the people with a most stirring oration on his divine mission of restoring their faith and preserving the Sikh religion.

 

After his persuasive speech, he flashed his immortal sword, and he demanded one head for the offering. After some anxiety, one person offered himself. The Guru took him inside a tent. A little later, he reappeared with his sword dripping with fresh blood, and asked for another head.

 

One by one, four more earnest devotees offered their heads. Every time the Guru took a person inside the tent, he came out with a bloodied sword in his hand. Then Guru again went back to the tent and came out with those five men dressed in saffron clothes and turbans.

 

These five people were given the title of the 'Panj Pyaras.' which means "The precious five men" and announced the creation of the "Khalsa Panth," the order of the Pure Ones. 

 

Guru Gobind Singh bestowed the five in a new and unique ceremony called Pahul. In an iron vessel, the Guru stirred with a sword called Khanda Sahib, which he made sacred nector of immortality called Amrit. It was first given to Panj Pyaras, then it was taken by the Guru, and then it was distributed amongst the crowd.

 

With this, all those present there, irrespective of caste and creed, became members of the Khalsa Panth. The men who were converted into Sikhism were told not to fear anybody other than the God and live life in whatever manner they desire.