The History and Celebrations of Baisakhi Festival in India
Baisakhi is an important harvest festival for Sikh community and people living in the Punjab region. It is also known as Vaisakhi, Vaishakhi, or Vasakhi. The festival of Baisakhi falls on the same day as that of Khalsa Sirjana Divas and Mesha Sankranti festival. It is celebrated on 13th of April every year with great pomp and marks the beginning of the Sikh New Year according to the Sikh calendar i.e. Nanakshahi solar calendar. The Celebrations of Baisakhi Festival in India are a mark of the birth of the Khalsa in the year 1699.
The Celebrations of Baisakhi Festival include music, dancing, singing, religious prayers and wearing traditional garments. Men are seen doing Bhangra and women do Gidda on this wonderful festival. The festival of Baisakhi coincides with other festivals like Bohag Bihu of Assam, Pohela Boishakh the Bengali New Year and Puthandu, the Tamil New Year. Fairs are also held in various parts of India as a part of Celebrations Baisakhi Festival.
History of Celebrations of Baisakhi Festival in India
Biasakhi is a pious Sikh festival that is celebrated commonly on 13th of April every year with great enthusiasm and zeal. It is a long established festival of harvest in the region of Punjab. The Celebrations of Baisakhi Festival date back to 1699 when the tenth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh, transformed the Sikh community into a family of soldier saints who were known as the Khalsa Panth. The Khalsa Panth was founded by Guru Gobind Singh at Keshgarh Sahib Anandpur Sahib in front of thousands of people on March 30, 1699.
On the same day, Guru Gobind Singh held an unsheathed sword in his hand and gave a powerful speech to encourage his fellowmen. After he was done with his speech, he asked if any of his fellowmen were ready to sacrifice should come forward. On his third call, one young man came forward. Guru took him into the tent and came out with again with a bloodied sword. He again asked for a volunteer and this was done for another four times.
Everyone was thinking that he killed five Sikhs who had gone into the tent with the Guru. This was the time when Guru Gobind Singh presented all the five Sikhs in front of the people alive, wearing turbans and saffron-colored garments. Those five men got to be called as the ‘Panj Piara’ or ‘Beloved Five’ by the Guru. He distributed the sacred nectar of immortality called amrit, prepared by him to all.
Guru Gobind Singh regarded the Panj Piaras as the first members of the Khalsa and the incarnation of the Guru himself. After that Guru gave the surname of Singh (Lion) to every Sikh and also took the same for himself. He got to be called as Guru Gobind Singh instead of Guru Gobind Rai and declared to accept the Grantha Sahib as their eternal guide and discontinued the tradition of Gurus. This was a great step by him as at that time the society was disintegrated into a number of castes, creed and religions.
Celebrations of Baisakhi Festival in India
There are grand Celebrations of Baisakhi Festival in India. People visit Gurudwaras that are decorated with flowers and lights and other cultural decorative items. There is dancing and singing done throughout the day. The Celebrations of Baisakhi Festival are marked by nagar kirtans through the streets which is an important part of the Sikh culture and religious celebrations.
Sikhs offer prayers at the Gurudwaras to thank the almighty for the bountiful crop harvest and prosperity in future deeds. Sikhs prepare food for the devotees at the Gurudwara and offer free meal to the people as a part of the Celebrations of Baisakhi Festival. Traditional Bhangra and Gidda are also done by men and women enthusiastically. Traditional and colorful fairs are also organized at various places where dances, wrestling competitions and acrobatics take place. Various food and knick-knack stalls are also an attraction of the fairs. The offices, schools and colleges are generally closed as a part of the Celebrations of Baisakhi Festival.