Time of the year again to celebrate the joyous festival of Baisakhi. This festival is of extreme importance in India for a number of reasons. Especially for farmers, this is of prime importance and is celebrated as a harvest festival. But most importantly this festival is celebrated as the Sikh New Year and the Khalsa Panth was also founded on this day.
It traces its origins from the celebration of Baisakhi Day dated back in 1699 organized by the Tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh to form Khalsa - Brotherhood of Saint Soldiers to fight against despotism and cruelty.
Baisakhi is celebrated every year on April 13. In the science of astrology, the date of Baisakhi is imperative as it marks the sun’s entry into Mesh Rashi or Aries. This is also another reason why Baisakhi is also known as Mesha Sankranti. The date of Baisakhi is estimated according to the solar calendar, hence sometimes it is also celebrated on April 14th. It is celebrated all over India with a lot of fervor under different names and rituals in different regions. For example: 'Naba Barsha' in Bengal, 'Rongali Bihu' in Assam, 'Pooram Vishu' in Kerala, Vaishakha’ in the state of Bihar and so on.
Sikhism and Baisakhi
Baisakhi holds major importance for the Sikh people. On this day, in the year 1699 the Tenth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa Panth also known as the Order of Pure Ones, thus providing an identity for the Sikhs of their own. The Guru administered nectar or amrit to his first batch of five disciples on this day making them a martial community. Doing so, he established that all human beings are equal and he eliminated the differences between high and low caste. Apart from the special prayer meetings in gurudwaras, they also carry out Baisakhi processions to mark this day.
Importance of Baisakhi for Farmers
States like Haryana and Punjab, which is known to be rich in agriculture, the festival of Baisakhi implies that it is time for harvest of winter crops or rabi. Therefore, this festival is extremely important for farmers. In these states, this is also known as thanksgiving festival as farmers can be seen visiting temples and gurudwaras to seek blessings for their agriculture to flourish an express gratitude for the good harvest. Energetic bhangra performances and gidda dance is also a part of the celebration by the farmers.
As for the Hindus, Baisakhi is important because on this particular day in the year 1875, Swami Dayanand Saraswasti founded Arya Samaj which is a reformed sect of the Hindus, discarding idol worship. For Buddhists it is special because on this particular day Gautam Buddha attained Nirvana.