The festival of Vaisakhi or Baisakhi is celebrated as a harvest festival all over the nation and also marks the beginning of the Punjabi calendar. In the Punjabi community, it indicates the merriment of the beginning of a new solar year. The Sikh community celebrates this festival with a lot of fervour and excitement. The festival falls usually on 13th April, but once in every 36 years or so, it falls on April 14th. Vaisakhi 2019 will be celebrated on 14th April.
While the festival holds a lot of significance for Hindus as it marks the start of a New Year, in the honor of Goddess Ganga who is said to have descended on the Earth on this day, it has a huge significance among the Sikhs as it commemorates the date in 1689 when Shri Guru Gobind Singh, the Tenth Guru, founded the Khalsa Panth of warriors.
As history goes, on this day, Guru Gobind Singh asked five volunteers to offer their lives. He took each one inside a tent, and each time, he emerged with a bloody sword. It was later learned by the onlookers that he had actually sacrificed only a goat. These warriors were soon known as the “Beloved Five”.
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The festival is celebrated with a lot of vigor and pride. Gurdwaras are decorated beautifully with flowers, carpets and devotees participate in kirtans. Since the festival holds a social significance along with a religious and cultural one, people pray and recite the stories written down by Shri Guru Gobind Singh. They come together to dance, enjoy a delicious feast, and take part in merrymaking. People celebrate Baisakhi by performing their traditional and energetic dance, bhangra and gidda, and also take part in Baisakhi Fairs.
Like any other festival, on the day of Baisakhi, many special delicacies like Coconut Laddoo, Sarson ka Saag, Makki ki Roti, Pindi Chana Battura, Biriyani, Dry Fruit Kheer, Til Gajak, Wheat Flour Laddu, Carrot Halwa and Peele Chawal are prepared and feasted by all.
The festival of Baisakhi also holds a lot of significance for the agricultural laborers and farmers in the country. In the agriculturally rich states of Punjab and Haryana, the festival marks the time for harvest of Rabi (winter) crops. Farmers celebrate the day as their own Thanksgiving Day festival in these states.
As part of a tradition, farmers wake up early and dress in new clothes. They visit temples and gurdwaras to pray to God for the good harvest and seek blessings for a prosperous agriculture season.
Astrological Significance of Vaisakhi
The festival of Vaisakhi holds astrological significance as on this day, the Sun enters into Aries (Mesh). This is why many people also know this festival as Mesha Sankranti. All over India, the festival is celebrated under different names. For instance, it is celebrated as 'Rongali Bihu' in Assam, 'Nobo Borsho' in Bengal, ‘Puthandu’ in Tamil Nadu, 'Pooram Vishu' in Kerala and ‘Vaishakha’ in the state of Bihar.