Baisakhi is celebrated all over the country since it marks the ripening of the rabi harvest.
“O’ Jatta, here comes Baisakhi!
Let’s celebrate, do Bhangra,
O’ my friend, here comes Baisakhi”
Baisakhi is a harvest festival and is the time to embrace happiness. It coincides with the harvesting of wheat and thus, in a way, Baisakhi symbolises abundance, prosperity and celebration.
Baisakhi is celebrated all over the country since it marks the ripening of the rabi harvest. It is known as the Naba Barsha celebrations in West Bengal, Rongali Bihu in Assam, Puthandu in Tamil Nadu and Pooram (Vishu) in Kerala. It is also related to the Buddhist faith because it is believed that Buddha attained enlightenment on this day. During the month of April, the villagers are free and they possess the requisite time to celebrate the festival.
Baisakhi has acquired a special significance in the Sikh tradition. It is the day of the birth of the Khalsa. On the Baisakhi day, 1699 at Anandpur, Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa Panth, the army of the pure ones, a community of saint-soldiers, imbued with a sense of bravery and sacrifice. The Sikhs were given a new identity through the ceremony of Khande-de-pahul (baptism).
The Khalsa of the guru is fearless, pure and emancipated. The Khalsa believes that righteousness will succeed in the end. The Khalsa has no enemies and prays for the progress of the entire humanity. With its Five Kakkars, the Khalsa is Akal ki Fauj (God’s own army) whose mission is to uphold dharma, protect the saintly and uproot the wicked.
Guru Gobind Singh instilled the spirit of sainthood and soldier in the minds and hearts of Sikhs to restore justice, courage and peace. “I will create my Khalsa of such courage and vigour that he will take on armies of the enemy, he will stand up for the poor and the downtrodden,” says the Guru.
Patna Sahib Mahotsav is celebrated every year on the occasion of Baisakhi at Patna Sahib, which is the birthplace of Guru Gobind Sahib. The celebration starts at the gurdwara “Guru ka Bagh” and Takht Shri Harmandir Sahib with “akhand padh” (unbroken recitation of Gurbani), nagar-kirtan (procession), langar and shabad-kirtan. Amrit-prachar (initiation ceremony) for inducting novitiates into the Khalsa fold is also held at major gurdwaras.
Baisakhi is the mingling of the secular with the sacred. On the one hand it is the time to visit gurdwaras and participate in the religious activities, but at the same time Baisakhi is the time to participate in the melas (fairs) and burst into Bhangra.
Bhangra, a harvest dance, in fact, depicts the story of the agricultural process and showcases the energy as well as the hard working nature of the people of Punjab. Melas increase the celebrations. Melas are the places to meet and mingle. Cattle fairs are also held all over Punjab where people indulge in trading.
No festival is complete without the feast. Traditional dishes like saffron sweet rice, white channas, sugarcane kheer, dahi-bara, etc, are cooked at home and enjoyed by people. Baisakhi, no wonder, is a time for hope and happiness. It is the best way to welcome the traditional New Year. Happy Baisakhi!