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India is basically an agricultural country. India grows many different crops that flourish in different areas. It is therefore not surprising that there are many festivals that celebrate the harvest season.
If there is Pona Sankranti in Orissa, there is Vishu in Kerala. Baisakhi or Vaisakhi is a major festival that is celebrated by the Sikh community across the world. It is celebrated as a harvest festival and marks the harvest season of the rabi crop.
The farmers work hard and toil in the fields for the whole year and during Baisakhi, they reap the fruits of their hard work. The crop is harvested and a part of it is offered to the almighty as a gratitude for the bountiful harvest.
The prashad is then distributed among friends and family. The people then sing and dance in celebration. Dance forms like Gidda and Bhangda are performed during this time. The whole atmosphere is gay and joyful.
But it would be a mistake to consider Baisakhi as just a simple harvest festival. The festival of Baisakhi has immense religious value; and it is just as important spiritually for the Sikh community as any other festival is. Read on as we discuss the many facts that make Baisakhi unique among the various Harvest festivals of India.
Celebration Of The New Year
While Baisakhi is predominantly celebrated as a harvest festival, it is also the day a new year starts, according to the regional calendar. The day is celebrated as New Year in many other states of India too. The 13th or 14th of April is the day when the sun moves in to the month of Aries. People see it as a new start and celebrate the day with great pomp and show.
Baisakhi Month Has The Celebration Of A Cluster Of Events
Other than the celebration of New year, it also celebrates a few different festivals. Mythology says that it was on this day that Lord Brahma began the creation of the universe. It also celebrates the birth of the Second guru, Sri Aangad Dev.
According to the Vikrami era, King Vikramaditya was coronated on this day. Navratri begins on this day too.The day also saw the start of Arya Samaj and the Khalsa Panth and many more.
The Formation Of The Khalsa Panth
Another important reason for the Sikhs to celebrate the day is the fact that the Khalsa Panth was created on third day. It is said that Guru Gobind called for a gathering and asked the crowd for volunteers who could provide heads for the sake of humanity.
When the first person stood up, the Guru took him to the tent and returned with a bloodied sword and asked for more volunteers. This way, he took the five men who stood up. The crowd was aghast that their Guru had taken the life of 5 men.
But the Guru then returned with the men and called them the Paanch Piyare, which translates to 'the five dear ones'. These five men were the first to be integrated into the newly formed Khalsa Panth. The group aimed to protect the Sikh and the Hindu Community from the aggressive Mughals.
Tasting The Amrit
Amrit or nectar tasting is an important ritual on the Baisakhi day. It is said that after the ritual of Pahul, Guru Govind Singh made the nectar in an iron vessel. He took the Batashas made by his wife and stirred them with a sword known as Khanda Sahib.
He then served it to the Paanch Piyare. The Amrit was then served to the rest of the people who had gathered. On this day, the Guru Granth Sahib is read and then the Amrit is distributed among the devotees.
The Sikhs also use the day to thank the almighty for a rich crop. They also pray for a prosperous future for their near and dear ones in the year that lies ahead.
The colourful Baisakhi mela is one of the important aspects of the festival. The melas have lots of activities for the people to indulge in. There are shops that sell food, handicrafts and toys. The mela gives the people a much-deserved chance to blow off some steam and enjoy life after the hardship of the year.
Jallianwala Bagh And Udham Singh 's Sankalp Divas
This is a sad reason for the day to be remembered. This day is commemorated by many as the day that marks the cruelest and the bloodiest incident of India's history. Jallianwala Bagh incident happened on this day and infuriated by the event, Uddham Singh took a resolution to kill General Dyer on this day.