Indian culture is famous for various festivals. There is a rich diversity among people living in India of different caste and religion as a result, each of them enjoys one festival or another all year round. In the same way, the festival of Baisakhi has a very special impotnce for Sikhs and farmers.
This year in 2021, Baisakhi will be celebrated on 14th April. It is also called the festival of farming. The farmers celebrate it with great joy and enthusiasm and express their happiness and be thankful to God. It begins when the Rabi crop is ready to be harvested. It is also seen as a spiritual festival in many provinces of Northern India.
Baisakhi is celebrated for the establishment of Sikh culture and harvesting of crops. The Khalsa Panth was founded by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the 10th Guru of the Sikh Panth on 13th April 1699 and with this day, the celebrations were started. New Year among the people of Punjab also begins on this day. People make Rangoli in the courtyard of their house and numerous dishes are prepared in the house. Also after bathing in the holy rivers, people visit the gurudwara and recite the Guru Granth along with the religious ceremony.
Visakha nakshatra is present in the sky during this time. This month is called Baisakhi due to Visakha Nakshatra being on the full moon. On this day, the Sun enters the Aries sign, hence it is also called Mesh Sankranti.
Guru Gobind Singh, the Guru of all Sikhs sent an invitation to all his devotees. On receiving the invitation, all the devotees gathered at the Anand Pur Saheb. The Guru wanted to test his disciples. He took out his sword and said, “I want your Head”. Hearing this, all the devotees were surprised, but one person Dayaram put his head in front of him. Guru took him inside with him and the rest of the devotees saw blood flowing in front of them. They felt that Dayaram had sacrificed his life. Guru Gobind Singh then came out again and showed his sword and said, I want a head….
… this time Dharmadas came forward, then Guru took him with him. Similarly, three others namely Himmat Rai, Mohic Chand, and Sahib Chand offered their heads to the Guru’s shelter. Everyone felt that these five people are no longer there, but were surprised to find all of them alive. The Guru told that the life of the animals has been sacrificed in place of them. They were successful in the examination taken by me and henceforth these five will be known as my five pawns. After that, these five were fed with eternal nectar and said that from this day onwards you will be called Singh. They were ordered to grow hair and beard as well as keep the comb with them to keep their hair neat, keep the saber for self-defense, wear briefs, and wear a bangle in their hands. He further instructed his disciples not to attack the weaker people. After this incident, Guru Gobind Rai was called Guru Gobind Singh and the word Singh was also associated with the name of all Sikhs and it became a special day. And this special day is celebrated as Baisakhi.
During the time of Mahabharata, when the Pandavas reached near Katraj Tal in Punjab during their exile, they were very thirsty. Leaving Yudhishthira behind, when all the four brothers reached the lake where Yaksha refused to let them drink water from it. Despite the warning, they drank the water as a result of which all four brothers died.
In the meanwhile, Yudhishthira was eagerly waiting for his brothers so he went out in search of him. When he also reached the pond and proceeded to drink water, Yaksha came again and said to him, first answer my questions then only you can drink water. Yaksha kept on asking questions and Yudhishthira gave all the answers which pleased him. He told them about the death of his brothers and among them only one can be alive. Then Yidhishthira prayed to revive his brother Sahadeva, Yaksha asked with surprise, why he want his stepbrother to live to which he replied that, rather than two sons of Mother Kunti who should be alive, it is better to let the only son of Mother Madri be alive.
Yaksha was pleased with the conversation and gave back life to all his four brothers. Since then, a huge fair is organized on the banks of the holy river and a procession is carried out in which five pawns walk barefooted at the front and the festival of Baisakhi is celebrated with great enthusiasm.
On this day people gather around after setting up a sacred fire and celebrate the happiness of harvesting the crops. New food grains are offered to the fire after which the people of Punjab perform Bhangra. Ardas is performed in Gurdwaras on this day. It is also the foundation day of khalsa Panth where it was laid at Anand Pur Sahib is specially worshipped. Then Gurugranth Sahib is bathed with milk and water then its board is given respect. After the completion of Ardas, prasad is offered and then langar is started in the gurudwara.
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