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Baisakhi, also known as Vaisakhi, is a harvest festival celebrated in India, particularly in the northern state of Punjab. It falls on April 13 or 14 every year and marks the beginning of the new year for the Sikh community.
The festival has historical and religious significance for Sikhs. It commemorates the formation of the Khalsa Panth, a community of initiated Sikhs, by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh, in 1699. On this day, he baptized the first five members of the Khalsa, who were called the Panj Pyare, and gave them the five Ks of Sikhism – kesh (uncut hair), kangha (a comb), kara (a steel bracelet), kaccha (a specific type of undergarment), and kirpan (a sword).
Apart from the religious significance, Baisakhi also marks the end of the harvesting season in Punjab and the beginning of a new agricultural cycle. Farmers offer thanksgiving to God for the abundant harvest and pray for a prosperous year ahead. Baisakhi is celebrated with great enthusiasm and joy in Punjab and other parts of India. People wear new clothes, perform traditional dances such as Bhangra and Gidda, and organize fairs and processions. The festival also involves the preparation of special foods such as Kada Prasad and Langar, which are distributed among the community.
Baisakhi is celebrated with great enthusiasm in India, especially in the state of Punjab, where it holds special significance. Here’s a brief overview of how the festival is celebrated:
- Visiting Gurudwaras: On the day of Baisakhi, people wake up early in the morning and take a holy dip in rivers or ponds. They then visit Gurudwaras, which are beautifully decorated for the occasion. Devotees offer prayers and seek blessings from the Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of Sikhs.
- Nagar Kirtan: In some places, a procession called Nagar Kirtan is taken out on the day of Baisakhi. This involves the Guru Granth Sahib being carried on a palanquin while people sing hymns and perform traditional dances.
- Traditional Dances: Bhangra and Gidda are two popular dances that are performed during Baisakhi. Men and women respectively, dress up in traditional Punjabi attire and dance to the beats of dhol (a traditional drum).
- Fairs and Markets: Baisakhi is also a time for fairs and markets, where people can buy traditional clothes, handicrafts, and other items. Food stalls serve delicious Punjabi cuisine, including sarson ka saag, makki di roti, chole bhature, and lassi.
- Langar: Langar is a community kitchen where food is served to everyone, regardless of their religion, caste, or creed. During Baisakhi, Langars are set up in Gurudwaras and other public places, where volunteers serve food to the devotees.
- Celebrations at Home: People celebrate Baisakhi with their families and friends by exchanging sweets and gifts. They also decorate their homes with flowers and lights.
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