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Baisakhi-A festival of prosperity and joy with bloom

Young Bites. Dated: 4/13/2018 9:12:38 AM

Baisakhi is commemorated on April 13-14 every year.Vaisakhi marks the beginning of the new spring year and the end of the harvest of rabi crop in India. The festival is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm in agriculture dominated state of Punjab and Haryana. Here, farmers thank God for the bountiful harvest and pray for prosperity in the coming year. The date of Baisakhi has major astrological significance as it marks the sun’s entry into Mesh Rashi. Some people therefore know Baisakhi as Mesha Sankranti. On the occasion of Baisakhi, Gurdwaras all across India are decorated with lights and other ornamentations. Several satsangs are held and Sikhs visit and bathe in lakes or rivers before visiting the Gurdwaras. The festival of Baisakhi, also known as Vaisakhi or Vasakhi, is a religious as well as a historical celebration in Sikhism. This occasion marks the beginning of the Sikh New Year and the traditional solar New Year for the Hindus. For the Sikh community, this day marks the birth of the Khalsa way of living as well as the formation of the Khalsa Panth under the renowned Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. While for the Hindus, it is believed to be the time when Goddess Ganga descended on earth and in her honour, people gather along the sacred river Ganges for the holy bath. While this occasion has different names, it is more or less celebrated in a similar way by both Hindus and Sikhs.
This day is of great importance in the history of Sikhism as well as the Punjab region. In the year of 1699, the ninth Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded on the order of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb for refusing to convert to Islam, which prompted the coronation of the Tenth Guru of Sikhs Guru Gobind Singh. Interestingly, on the same day Guru Gobind Singh formed the Khalsa Panth – also known as the Order of the Pure Ones. For this, he picked five Sikh warriors who would go on to defend religious freedom. The Jallianwala Bagh (1919), where thousands of Indians were massacred on the orders of British empire official Colonel Reginald Dyer, also took place on Baisakhi. Baisakhi is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour in Punjab and Haryana, the two destination predominantly with Sikh population India. There are bright colours, delicious cuisine, folk songs and dances, and awesome people. People celebrate and shout “Jatta aayi Baisakhi” and move towards their farm lands. Baisakhi celebrations in villages of Punjab is just gorgeous and a thing to witness and experience.The farmers specially wake up early in the morning on this day and take a bath in the ponds or rivers. Then they visit the gurudwaras and thank god for blessing them with good harvest. At several places in Punjab and Haryana, Baisakhi mela (fair) is organised where people enjoy with friends and family. These fairs have all the elements to entertain people, like gidda or bhangra performances, and wrestling championships are held.
• Baisakhi 2018 is right around the corner, and like every year, Punjab is all geared up to ring in the harvest festival with much pomp, fervour and feasting. This year, Baisakhi would be celebrated on April 13th 2018. Baisakhi or Vaisakhi is one of the most significant festivals of Punjab and marks the beginning of the new year. Baisakhi gets its name from ‘Baisakh’, the first month of the Bikram Sambat Hindu calendar. The harvest festival coincides with several regional festivals like Pohela Baishakh (Bengali new year), Vishu (Kerala’s new year), and Bihu (Assamese new year). This day is observed as a thanksgiving day by the farming community to God for a wonderful rabi crop harvest season that went by, and pray for an even bountiful season ahead. For the Sikh community, the occasion of Baisakhi is even more special and momentous. It was on this day, the Khalsa sect of Sikhism took birth. Khalsa, a collective body of all initiated Sikhs, was established at Kesgarh in Anandpur Sahib, by the 10th Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh in the year 1699. If you are in Punjab around Baisakhi, make sure you visit one of the traditional Baisakhi fares. Folk dances, traditional songs and folklores make for a delightful experience. People exchange sweets and savouries, and also dress up in traditional clothes during the festivities. Vaisakhi fairs take place in various places, including Jammu City, Kathua, Udhampur, Reasi and Samba in the Pinjore complex near Chandigarh. Punjabis around the country would be ringing in Baisakhi on 14th April, 2018. Baisakhi marks the harvest time of Rabi (winter) crops. It is one of the most significant festivals for Punjabis around the world. Baisakhi is celebrated on the first day of the ‘Baisakh’, which happens to be the first month of the Hindu calendar. Baisakhi procession is another prime feature of the Baisakhi celebration in India or anywhere. Also known as Nagar Kirtan, this religious procession is carried out in the entire city under the guidance of Panj Piaras (Five Beloved Ones). Be it men, women, or kid, everyone takes part in the procession with much vigour and enthusiasm. This colourful procession looks quite enchanting with people dancing around, dhol playing, and folk dances.A significant ritual carried out during Baisakhi is ‘Awat Pauni’. Here, people come together and harvest crops on vibrant beats of dhol and sing melodious folk songs. ‘Nagar Kirtan’, a religious procession, is another unique and integral part of the celebrations. Nagar Kirtan literally translates to the “town hymn singing”. People gather together and sing hymns and chants written in the Guru Granth Sahib -the Sikh holy book. They are led by five khalsa who are dressed up as Panj Pyaras, who carry the holy book with them as a mark of reverence.Baisakhi also holds great significance for the Sikh community. It was on this auspicious day that Guru Gobind Singh ji initiated Khalsa at Kesgarh in Anandpur Sahib in the year 1699. Baisakhi is celebrated with much pomp and fervour across Punjab and neighbouring states like Delhi and Himachal too. Devotees throng Gurudwaras to seek blessings for the upcoming year. As the colour yellow represents joy and bounty, people dress up in vibrant hues of yellow and orange to celebrate the spirit of rebirth. Not just the clothes and motifs, people also like to add a tinge of gold and yellow in some of their foods. Fairs or melas are held in many parts of Punjab and what are fairs without food. Locals and traders carry delicious delicacies and sell them in the Baisakhi fares. One can find interesting varieties of pickles, papads, chutneys, candies and churans across the fair. While going to the Gurudwara and enjoying mouthful of delectable kadha Prasad Meethey chawal, kheer, kadhi are specially prepared to keep up with the spirit. langar is a common practice, people also celebrate the festival’s Punjabi delicacies like sarson da saag, chhole bhature, pindi chane, achari mutton also make it to a traditional Baisakhi feast. The date of Baisakhi festival has tremendous significance in Sikhism. They celebrate the festival as a collective birthday of the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh and the foundation of the Khalsa (the Sikh brotherhood) in 1699. Sikhs all over the world celebrate the day with lot of enthusiasm and joy. Golden Temple in Amritsar is the place where you need to be if you wish to witness the real Baisakhi festivities. Besides, entire Punjab and Haryana in India celebrate the festival of Baisakhi with much enthusiasm.


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