As we step into the blooming season of spring and harvest, the happy go lucky Punjabis are all set to welcome the New Year with their most awaited festive occasion ‘Vaisakhi’. With vibrant dressing and high spirits, we welcome Vaisakhi with open hearts.
1. Vaisakhi is a Punjabi festival also known as Baisakhi, Vaishakhi, or Vasakhi. It refers to the harvest festival of the Punjab. This New Year falls on the Baisakh, the first month of Bikram Sambat Hindu calendar. It is celebrated on the 13th or 14th of April. This day marks the birth of the Khalsa in the year 1699.
2. The 10th Guru Gobind Singh chose Vaisakhi as the occasion to transform Sikhs into a family of soldier saints known as the Khalsa Panth. It was founded amongst thousands at Anandpur Sahib.
3. Many Sikhs choose to be baptized into the Khalsa brotherhood on this day.
4. The festival is of primary importance for the Sikh community as it marks the establishment of the Khalsa.
5. It is a thanksgiving day observed by farmers who pay their tribute by thanking God for abundant harvest.
6. So how is it celebrated? The tradition called Aawat Pauni includes people getting together to harvest wheat while others play drums whilst the lot works. The festival is also characterized by Bhangra which is the traditional dance form for the same.
7. The festival is marked with Nagar Kirtan processions: processions through the streets (Nagar means “town”) which form an important part of Sikh culture and religious celebrations. Kirtan is a term meaning the singing of hymns from the Guru Grath Sahib, the Sikh holy book. Celebrations always include music, singing and chanting scriptures and hymns. The processions are led by traditionally dressed Panj Piaras.
8. It also coincides with other New Year festivals which are celebrated on the same day as Vaisakhi. These include Pohela Boishakh which is Bengali New Year, Bohag Bihu of Assam or Puthandu which is Tamil New Year.
9. Irrespective of place, this harvest festival is observed not only in Punjab, India but also Pakistan, Malyasia, Afghanistan, Africa, United States, United Kingdom and Canada.
10. Vaisakhi fairs are observed with traditional dancing, singing, music, wearing of festive garments and religious praise.