What is Baisakhi?
Baisakhi, a Harvest festival, is like all things Punjabi. It involves social and is colourful and boisterous. It also involves food, music, and dance. Baisakhi can also be observed in other Indian states. Baisakhi, also known as Vaisakhi, is celebrated in the Indian state of Punjab. It is a spring harvest festival. A festival to celebrate the birth of the Khalsa (Sikh religion brotherhood).
When and how does Baisakhi 2023 take place?
Baisakhi, also known as Vaisakhi, falls on April 13-14 each year. However, it falls every 36 years on April 15. Religious officials determined that it would fall on Thursday, April 14 in 2023.
Vaisakhi falls on Vaisakha’s first day, which is the second month of the Indian national calendar. In the Hindu calendar, Vaisakhi is the name of this month. It is the first month of the year.
The solar calendar determines the date and marks the entry of the sun into Aries. Vaisakhi can also be considered the beginning of summer. This is when Kalboishakhi storms, which are often called Kalboishakhi, sweep in from the northwest after a hot day.
History of Baisakhi
Baisakhi, or Vaisakhi Festival, is celebrated as the Sikh New Year. It also marks the founding of Khalsa Panth. Baisakhi’s history can be traced back to the Baisakhi Day celebrations of Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. Which were organized by the Tenth Sikh Guru to form Khalsa. Khalsa means Brotherhood of Saint Soldiers to fight oppression and tyranny.
Story of Baisakhi
The Baisakhi Festival’s story began with Guru Teg Bahadur. Teg Bahadur was the ninth Sikh Guru, being publicly executed by Aurungzeb, a Mughal ruler. Aurungzeb wanted Islam to be spread in India, and Guru Tegh Bahadur stood for Hindus and Sikhs. The Mughals considered him a threat.
Guru Gobind Singh
Guru Gobind Singh was the next Guru of Sikhs after Guru Teg Bahadur died. He wanted to instil courage and the ability to sacrifice among his fellow Sikhs. Guru Gobind Singh, a Sikh leader, called upon the historical Baisakhi Day congregation at Keshgarh Sahib in Anandpur on March 30, 1699.
Guru emerged from the tent with an unsheathed sword when thousands of people gathered to receive Guru’s blessing. He gave a powerful speech that instilled courage among his fellow men. He said at the end of his speech that every great act was preceded by equally great sacrifices. And urged that all who were willing to risk their lives for the cause of humanity come forward.
A young man came forward to the Guru’s third call. The Guru took the young man into a tent, and he returned to his home with a sword in his hand. Guru requested another volunteer. The process was repeated four more times until five Sikhs were allowed to enter the tent with Guru Gobind Singh. Everyone was concerned and believed Guru Gobind Singh had killed five Sikhs. Guru then presented the five men to the people. All five men were alive and dressed in turbans and saffron-coloured clothes.
Panj Piara or Beloved 5
The Guru called these five men Panj Piara, or the ‘Beloved 5’. They were blessed by the Guru with a Pahul ceremony. The Guru used a Khanda Sahib (an iron vessel) to stir the water with the batasha his wife Mata Sundari Ji had placed into it. As the Guru performed the sacred ceremony, the congregation recited scripture verses. Amrit, the sacred nectar of immortality, was given to the water. The water was given first to five volunteers. It was then drunk by the Guru and then distributed among the crowd. All present became members of the Khalsa Pantha (Order of the Pure Ones) with this ceremony.
The Guru considered the Panch Piaras the first Khalsa member and the embodiment of the Guru himself. The Panj Pyare was created by combining the low and high castes. Every Sikh was given the surname Singh (Lion) by the Guru. He also adopted the name. This was a significant step towards national integration. Society was divided by religion, caste, and social status at the time.
Guru Gobind Singh also gave Khalsa, the Sikh’s unique identity, his blessings. He directed Sikhs not to wear more than five K’s. He asked all Sikhs not to follow the Guru tradition. Instead requested that they accept the Grantha Sahib, their eternal guide. He encouraged them to bring their hair and unshaven beard to him to be baptized with the sword.
Baisakhi festival celebration in Punjab
Baisakhi is a Hindu month named Vaishakh. It is the second month of the Hindu calendar, which begins with Chaitra and ends in Falgun or Fagun. The northern Indian farmers harvest the season’s crops at this time and prepare for the next season.
This day. Gurdwaras dress in festive attire as they prepare to receive thousands of devotees. Sikhs enjoy a holy dip at nearby lakes or ponds and then dress up in festive attire. Nagar Kirtan processions are held, and Langar Seva food charity is organized.
Nagar Kirtan, the procession of Guru Granth Sahib, is known as Guru Granth Sahib. Devotees sing or chant holy hymns during this religious procession. The Panj Pyare, the five beloved members of the Khalsa who are dressed in saffron, leads the procession. The holy book of Sikhs Guru Granth Sahib and other members of this procession follow them. The procession will pass through the streets of Sewadars, which are volunteers. Finally, the procession arrives at the Gurudwara where Ardas (or the prayer) is offered.
It is also a holy day for non-Sikh Hindus. Many people celebrate it by taking a dip in the lake or river and then visiting a temple. It’s a day for sharing sweetmeats, dancing and festivity. Baisakhi, in its unique flavour, can also be observed in Bengal, Assam, (Rongali Bihu), and Bihar.
It is also a commemoration of 1919 day. When a British colonial officer General Dyer opened fire on thousands of Indians in Jallianwala Bag, Amritsar. The massacre of thousands of revellers in the celebration by a bunch of bullets shocked the entire world. It also established the story of independence from foreign rule, which was achieved in 1947.