Baisakhi, also known as Vaisakhi, is a significant festival celebrated by the Sikh community around the world. It marks the beginning of the Sikh New Year and commemorates the formation of the Khalsa Panth in 1699 by tenth sikh guru, Shri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. Baisakhi falls on April 13 or 14 every year and is also celebrated by religions in different regions of India. In this essay, we will discuss the significance, history, and celebrations of Baisakhi.

Significance of Baisakhi:

Baisakhi holds immense significance for the Sikh community as it is the day when Guru Gobind Singh Ji founded the Khalsa Panth, a community of baptised Sikhs who follow the principles of Sikhism. The Guru chose this day to create a new community of Sikhs to protect the oppressed and fight against tyranny. Baisakhi also marks the harvest season and the beginning of a new year, making it a joyous occasion for farmers and their families.

History of Baisakhi:

The history of Baisakhi dates back to 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth guru of Sikhs, gathered his followers at Anandpur Sahib in Punjab. On this day, he gave the Five Ks, the physical symbols of Sikhism, to the first five members of the Khalsa Panth. These Five Ks include Kesh (uncut hair), Kangha (a wooden comb), Kara (a steel bracelet), Kirpan (a sword), and Kaccha (a special undergarment). He also declared that all Sikhs must adopt the last name Singh, meaning lion, and baptised them by offering them Amrit, a sacred nectar made of sugar and water stirred with a sword. This event is known as the Amrit Sanchar ceremony, and it signifies the birth of the Khalsa Panth.

Baisakhi Celebration

Celebrations of Baisakhi:

Baisakhi is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour by Sikhs around the world. The celebrations start with an early morning dip in rivers, lakes, and ponds, followed by prayers at Gurudwaras, the Sikh places of worship. People dress in their best clothes and participate in Nagar Kirtans, processions that go around the city singing devotional hymns and playing musical instruments. The procession is led by five Sikhs who carry the Sikh flag, the Nishan Sahib, followed by the holy book of Sikhs, the Guru Granth Sahib. The procession stops at various places to distribute sweets, fruits, and langar, a community kitchen where free food is served to everyone.

In Punjab, farmers celebrate the harvest season by performing Bhangra and Giddha, traditional Punjabi dances, and by organising fairs and exhibitions. People decorate their houses with flowers, lights, and rangolis, a colourful art made of rice flour, to welcome the New Year. In many parts of India, Baisakhi is celebrated as a Hindu festival, where people take a dip in holy rivers, offer prayers to the sun god, and organise fairs and melas.

Baisakhi is a significant festival that celebrates the birth of the Khalsa Panth and the harvest season. It is a joyous occasion that brings together people of all communities to celebrate and spread happiness. The festival is not only important for Sikhs but also for Hindus and Buddhists who celebrate it in different ways. Baisakhi is a reminder of the rich cultural heritage of India and the unity in diversity that makes it a unique country.

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