Tuesday, September 17, 2019
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Baisakhi

Baisakhi
Place : Punjab
Significance: Harvest Festival
Date: 14.4.2019

A rural festival of North India, marking the beginning of the solar year (New year), especially celebrated in Punjab with great fervour. The word Baisakhi is derived from the month of Vaisakha (April-May). 

For the Sikhs the day is a collective celebration of New year along with the commemoration of the founding of  the 'Khalsa Panth' (Sikh brotherhood) by Guru Gobind Singh (the tenth spiritual leader of Sikhs) in 1699. 

It also signifies the end of harvest of the main crop rabi. During Baisakhi the farmers give 'thanks' to the Lord Almighty for their fortune and pray for a better crop the next year.  The occasion is marked by a lot of  feasting  and merry making. All night revelries termed 'Baisakhi di Raat' (Night of feasting) or 'Baisakhi da Mela' (Baisakhi fairs) are held, where men and women dance to the rhythmic beat of drums wrestling bouts are also held.  Early morning of Baiskhai, people take dip in holy rivers. Scores of devotees throngs the Golden Temple to offer special prayers and take a holy dip on the occasion. On these occasions, men and women adorn themselves with gay-coloured clothes and traditional jewellery. Baisakhi involves a lot of socialising where friends and relatives are invited and delicious meals are served.  

The holy book of the  Sikhs, 'Granth Sahib' is taken in a procession, led by the 'Panj Pyaras' (five senior Sikhs) who are symbolic of the original leaders. It was on this day that Guru Gobind Singh organised his first batch of five disciples making them Singhs, a martial community. Kirtans and recital of passages from the 'Granth Sahib' are also organized in gurdwaras, where people line up to receive the delicious Kada prasad (sweetened semolina) and perform kar sewa-that is, offering help in the daily chores of the gurdwara. The occasion is celebrated with great  gusto at Talwandi Sabo, where Guru Gobind Singh stayed for nine months and completed the recompilation of the Guru Granth Sahib and in the Golden temple in Amritsar. On Baisakhi day, water is drawn from all the sacred rivers of India and poured in to the huge tank surrounding the golden temple.

Fairs are organized at various places in Punjab, where besides other recreational activities, wrestling bouts are also held.

Harvest festivals symbolize hope and celebration of hard work by farmers.

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