Baisakhi Festival 2015 - The Vaisakhi Punjab Harvest Festival
Baisakhi - The Punjabi Harvest Festival
Baisakhi (also known as Vaisakhi) is an auspicious Punjabi Festival. This festival gets its name from the month of Vaisakh. Baisakhi which is celebrated after the successful harvesting of first crop holds great significance to Sikhs. It was on this day in the year 1969 the Sikh Guru Gobind Singh initiated the Panch Pyaras (the five dear ones/ first 5 disciples) and made them take a vow of the five K’s (Kesh or long hair, Kangha or comb, Kripan or dagger, Kachha or shorts and a Kara or bracelet ). On this is the day when the Guru Gobind Singh also discontinued the tradition of Gurus and asked all Sikhs to accept the Grantha Sahib as their eternal guide.He also eliminated the differences of high and low caste and established that all human beings are equal. The farmers of Punjab celebrate this day as a thanksgiving day for good harvest. This day is also considered auspicious for new ventures and business transactions. This festival normally which falls on April 13th or 14th of March every year holds special significance to Hindu’s as the beginning of Hindu New Year. The Hindu’s take a dip at the Ganges on this day as they believe that it was on this day thousands of years ago Goddess Ganga descended to earth. It was also on the day of Baisakhi in the year 1875 that Swami Dayanand Saraswati founded the Arya Samaj. The pilgrimage to Badrinath Shrine in the Himalayas also commences from this day. This day is of relevance for the Buddhists as Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment and Nirvana on this auspicious day. Astrologically this day marks the entry of Sun into the first sign of the Zodiac (Aries or Mesha Rashi) which is why this festival is also known as Mesha Sankranti.
In different parts of India, this harvest festival is celebrated under different names. Vaisakhi Festival is celebrated as 'Rongali Bihu' in Assam, 'Naba Barsha' in Bengal, ‘Puthandu’ in Tamil Nadu, ‘Ugadi’ in Andhra Pradesh, ‘Bikhauti’ in Uttarakhand, ‘Maha Vishuva Sankranti’, 'Pooram Vishu' in Kerala and ‘Vaishakha’ in the state of Bihar.
Celebrations on Vaishakhi
On this day the Sikhs get up early visit their temples and gurduwaras to pay their obeisance and seek blessings after taking bath. The Golden Temple of Amritsar is especially crowded by devotees on this day. At a gurdwara, the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs is taken out and given a ceremonial bath with milk and water. After the ritual, the book is placed on its throne and read out to the followers. After the recitation, karah Prasad is distributed among the devotees. On this day the Sikhs wear new clothes, gives charities and distribute sweets and food to the poor. The charities done on this day are believed to yield manifold results on this day.
On the day of Baisakhi, the people of Punjab sing folk songs and perform the energetic bhangra and gidda dances. Men and women clad in the traditional Bhangra dress and happily dancing to the beat of dhol is a familiar sight on this day. They also take part in processions and fairs. The people of Punjab flock around the street food stalls and stalls selling clothes, bangles, handicrafts, shoes etc.
Given below are the dates on which this festival falls on 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016.
Baisakhi Festival dates for 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016
13th April 2012
14th April 2013
13th April 2014
13th April 2015
13th April 2016
The Punjabi Bhangra Dance
© 2012 Anamika S Jain