Baisakhi is a seasonal festival with a special accent. It is celebrated all over the State on the first of Baisakh. This is the time when harvest is gathered in and the farmer exults in the fulfilment of his year’s hard work. He joins the merry-making with full gusto and does not mind walking for miles to be able to do so. Since this fair is also an expression of prosperity, singing and dancing constitute its most enchanting features. The Punjab’s famous Bhangra and Giddha are inextricably linked with this festival.
Many fairs in the Punjab are held near the tombs and shrines of pirs. These fairs must have originated in a spirit of devotion to those saints and sages. The most famous among such fairs are the Chhapar fair, the Jarag fair, and the Roshni fair of Jagranyan.
Baisakhi marks the beginning of New Year, particularly in the northern part of India. It is among the few Indian festivals that have a fixed date. Baisakhi is always on April 13th. In Kerala, Baisakhi is called as “Vishu” and in Tamilnadu; it is celebrated as “Puthandu”.
Considered a holy day, the devout celebrate the Baisakhi with a dip in the holy rivers just around the break of dawn. It is on this day that Sun enters Aries, the first sign of Zodiac. This signifies ushering of the New Year.
In Punjab (the land of Green Revolution) particularly and in the northern belt of India in general, farmers perform their own prayers and rejoice. For on this day, they commence cutting their harvest. The fields can be seen full of nature’s bounty. Dressed in their typical folk attire, both men and women, celebrate the day with Bhangra and Giddha. Sweets are distributed, old enmities are forgiven and life is full of joy, merriment and everyone seems to belong.
The above two are the main reasons for celebrating Baisakhi.
Baisakhi, however, has had a new dimension added to it by Guru Gobind Singh. For it was on the day of Baisakhi in 1669, that he established the Khalsa Panth and gave a final impetus to the course of the earlier nine Gurus of Sikhism.
A rural festival of North India, marking the beginning of the solar year (New Year), celebrated in Punjab with great fervour. 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 in 1699.
It also signifies the end of harvest of the main crop. During Baisakhi the farmers give ‘thanks’ to the Lord Almighty for their fortune and pray for a better crop the next year. 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. 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.