Baisakhi also known as Vaisakhi is a festival that marks the beginning of the Sikh New Year and the traditional solar New Year for the Hindus. The harvest festival holds a place of great importance among farmers and has a great historical and religious significance. For the Sikh community, it’s considered as a foundation day of Khalsa Panth, a religious structure that manages the affairs of the global Khalsa community. While the Hindus believe it’s the time when Goddess Ganga descended on earth and in her honour, people till date gather along the sacred Ganges River for ritual baths.
The festival which is celebrated on April 13 or April 14 every year also has astrological significance as it marks the sun’s entry into Mesh rashi and is celebrated all over India by different names. Here’s all you need to know:
Importance in the Sikh community
According to legend, in the year of 1699 after the ninth Guru Tegh Bahadur was beheaded by the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, for refusing to convert to Islam, the Tenth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh gave a unique identity to his followers by establishing the Khalsa Panth – also known as the Order of the Pure Ones. He administered Amrit (nectar) to his first batch of five disciples, turning them into warriors who would go on to defend religious freedom. He also freed the opressed under an obstinate social system by inviting them to join this new religion where everyone is equal.
Till date people follow him and celebrate the ceremony by participating in kirtans which are special prayer meetings and carrying out colourful processions. The farming community observe it as a thanksgiving day for the abundant harvest by performing Aawat Pauni, a tradition where people gather together to harvest the wheat and sing and dance to the tunes of the drums. A special celebration also takes place at Talwandi Sabo, at the Gurudwara at Anandpur Sahib and at the Golden Temple in Amritsar.
Importance in Hinduism and Buddhism
Baisakhi is equally important for the Hindus as it marks the beginning of the traditional solar New Year and is celebrated as Pooram Vishu in Kerala, Puthandu in Tamil Nadu, Rongali Bihu in Assam, Naba Barsha in Bengal, and Baishakha in Bihar. People take a holy dip in the Ganges, Jhelum, Kaveri and visit temples. They also have a bath with paste made of raw turmeric and lentils. For the Buddhists it holds relevance as Gautama Buddha is believed to have attained Nirvana on this day.
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