One of the most celebrated occasions for the Sikh community is that of Baisakhi, also known as Vaisakhi. Falling on 13th April every year and on 14th April in every 36 years, this day is celebrated as the Solar New Year day.
This year, it is falling on the 14th of April, Saturday. It is popular among the people of Punjab and Haryana, mainly because these are the agriculture dominated states. Even the majority of the Sikhs also live here only.
While for the farmers, this day marks the end of the rabi season and the beginning of a new year, for the Sikh community, the day is known for the establishment of the Khalsa Panth. The day is celebrated in both Haryana and Punjab; however, the spirit of celebration is remarkably high in Punjab.
Vaisakhi is known by different names in other states as well, such as 'Rangoli Bihu' In Assam, 'Nabha Baarsha' in Bengal, 'Puthandu' In Tamil Nadu, 'Puram Vishu'' In Kerala And 'Vaishakh' in Bihar.
Astrologically, this is the day when the Sun enters the Mesh Rashi. Therefore, it is also known as 'Mesh Sankranti'.
Importance Of The Day For The Sikh Community
The Mughal emperor Aurangzeb wanted only Islam to prevail in the nation and hence imposed relevant rules. Worried about the disappearing existence of other communities, especially the Sikhs, the 9th Sikh Guru, Guru Arjun Dev took to working even harder for the propagation of Sikhism.
Seeing him as a threat to his aims, Aurangzeb beheaded him publicly. Then, Guru Arjun Dev's son, Guru Gobind Singh, took his place and continued the purpose of the community. It was this tenth Guru, who established the Khalsa Panth on the day of Baisakhi in 1699. This is how, the day is of chief importance to the Sikh community.
Sikhs all over India celebrate the day with the same zeal. Early morning, they take a bath in a holy river and worship their deity. While most of them visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar or the Anand Sahib, the place where Khalsa Panth was pronounced, others may visit a Gurudwara in their area.
After offering the morning prayers, a religious ceremony is held in which they give a bath with milk and water to the holy book, the Guru Granth Sahib. There were 'Panch Pyaras' who were the five beloved disciples of Guru Gobind Singh.
They had recited the holy chants at the ceremony, when the Khalsa Panth was started. Similarly, five priests do the same chanting in their name. 'Amrit prasad' is then distributed among the devotees. People participate in cultural activities in the Baisakhi fair.
Dressed in their cultural attires, they can be seen enjoying the Bhangra and Giddha, the folk dances of Punjab, at the beats of dhol. Later in the day time, they take lunch as prasad in 'lungar'.
Importance For The Farmers
For the farmer community also the day is started by taking a holy bath. They too offer their prayers and the dishes made with seasonal items, to their deity. Since it is a day of gratitude for the farmers, they thank the almighty for the last year's harvest and pray for a prosperous harvest in the next year ahead again.
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