Know the significance of Baisakhi, the harvest festival of Punjab
- This year,
Baisakhifalls on April 13, which is a Monday.
- The harvest festival of Baisakhi marks the beginning of the solar year.
- One of the most important festivals in Punjab, Baisakhi holds a special significance for the Sikh community.
Baisakhi in Punjab
Punjab observes a state-wide holiday on the day of Baisakhi. Schools, colleges and offices remain closed to allow people to celebrate the event. Friends, relatives and neighbours exchange gifts among themselves. Businesses and offices also give away gifts to their employees.
AdvertisementWith all the gift-giving, there’s usually a surge in shopping ahead of the festival. The shops announce their annual sale offers and heavy discounts are offered on a wide range of items. Even the hotels announce huge discounts to lure in visitors from other states and countries who have come to either participate or observe the celebration of Baisakhi.
Baisakhi and Sikhs
The Sikh community celebrates Baisakhi by paying homage at Gurdwaras. They distribute offerings like Kada Prasad — a type of semolina halva made with equal portions of whole-wheat flour, clarified butter, and sugar — among the family members and friends.
The tradition of Baisakhi was started in 1699 when the Panj Piaras or the ‘beloved five’ were the first five men to be baptised as Sikh and Guru Gobind Singh laid down the Panth Khalsa — the Order of the Pure Ones — according to scripture.
Five individuals are chosen to represent the Panj Piaras and lead religious processions organized in the cities and provinces. Kar Sewa — volunteering to help at Gurdwaras — is an important highlight of the day. This act is considered as the expression of the modesty. In Gurdwaras, we can find the recitation of some passages from Guru Granth Sahib, kirtans and traditional songs.
Baisakhi and farmers
AdvertisementPunjab is rich in agriculture. Since Baisakhi commemorates the harvest season of the Rabi crops, it is a significant event for the farmers in the region. This festival is observed as a day of thanksgiving to the gods and natural elements that facilitated a bountiful harvest. Farmers visit the temples and Gurdwaras on this day wearing new clothes. Baisakhi fairs, bhangra and gidda are performances are common during this time in the state of Punjab.
Baisakhi for Hindus and Buddhists
Baisakhi marks the beginning of the solar calendar. On this day, the Sun enters the Mesh Rashi, the first one among the twelve zodiac signs. Therefore, this festival is also called as Mesh Sankranti. The other versions of Baisakhi are 'Naba Barsha' of Bengal, 'Rongali Bihu' of Assam, ‘Puthandu’ of Tamil Nadu, ‘Vaishakha’ of Bihar, and 'Pooram Vishu' of Kerala. These are all the variations of the Solar New Year celebrations across different parts of the country.
AdvertisementThe festival is highly significant for Hindus as well as Swami Dayanand Saraswati founded the Arya Samaj on this day in 1875. Baisakhi is a holy day for the Buddhists as they believe that Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism attained enlightenment or Nirvana on this day.
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