Celebrating Baisakhi in Punjab

To be a part of a Sikh festival is an intoxicating experience. The sheer passion of the community lifts you out of this world. Farmers and warriors, considered as two sides of the same coin, lead the festivities. They dance the bhangra, inspired by the movements of the agricultural process. Wonder at the thumping beats of the dholak for the Khalso are pioneers in the field of music and entertainment. Then learn about the rich history of the Baisakhi story and join along with the celebration.

Baisakhi is the lucky draw of festivals, pulling together the Hindu New Year, a harvest festival and the anniversary of the creation of the Khalsa community—the Sikhs. Different regions around the country celebrate the New Year under different names. For example, such as Vishu in the south and Rongali Bihu in Assam. Celebrating Baisakhi in Punjab is the most remarkable experience because of its overlap with the history of the Sikh religion.

A celebration of harvest and the anniversary of the Khalsa community (Photo credits to Mayank Gupta, Flickr)

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Baisakhi Story

The story begins with the martyrdom of the nine Sikh Gurus, and the ascension of Guru Gobind Singh. When the Muslim ruler Aurungazeb beheaded his father to still the growth of the religion, the tenth Guru decided to instill courage and passion into the peace-loving, agrarian community.

The Baisakhi story has a rich history that dates back to 1699. Here Guru Gobind Singh gave a rousing speech and called upon volunteers from the crowd to give their lives for the cause. Five men stepped forward, one at a time, and followed him into his tent. Each time the Guru returned alone, fresh blood dripping from his sword. However, the five men were all alive and a goat had been slaughtered in their place. They became the ‘Panj Para’ (the Beloved Five), and the first members of the ‘Khalsa’ Pure Ones. They had no caste or class demarcation but were a wholly equal community that lives on today and celebrates the founding day of their clan each year.

Celebrating Baisakhi in Punjab with music and dance (Photo credits to HAS group, Flickr)

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Celebrating Baisakhi in Punjab

The festival calls for the celebration of life through singing, dancing, parades and wrestling matches. Each echoes the powerful force of life that resides within the Sikhs. A loud and open-hearted people, they will drag you into the festivities. You will arrive home breathless from dancing and unable to see beyond your full belly. Follow the march of the Nagar Kirtan through the streets as they sing out from the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book that is revered as the eleventh and final of the Sikh Gurus. Celebrate the Baisakhi story where it originated and get a true sense of Sikh hospitality.

Baisakhi festivities (Photo credits to: Medleyview, Flickr)

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