Baisakhi: The festival of colours and traditions

‘Baisakhi Mela’ is one of the most prominent and well-known harvest festivals of Punjab. It is celebrated at Talwandi Sabo, the place where Guru Gobind Singh resided for nine months and finished the Sikh holy book. The farmers sing and dance and start fresh with the celebration of this festival.

1. ‘Baisakhi’ is a very famous religious festival of Punjab. The name Baisakhi originates from ‘Baisakh’, the first month according to the Bikram Sambat Hindu calendar. The festival is also popularly known as ‘Vaisakhi’

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2. On this day in 1699, Panth Khalsa, a collective body of Sikhs, was established at Kesgarh in Anandpur Sahib and inaugurated by Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th and the last Guru of Sikhs

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3. Baisakhi is also a spring crops harvest festival for Sikhs. The Punjabi farming communities refer to it as a day of giving thanks for the abundant harvest

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4. Farmers during this period seek blessings for future prosperity and progress

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5. Baisakhi celebrations start with a tradition called ‘Awat Pauni’. People, on this day come together and diligently harvest the crop on the beat of drums and sing traditional songs and dohas

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6. Along with Bhangra, the Punjabi folk dance is traditionally a harvest dance performed during the festival. This elegant dance form originated from the festival itself

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7. Various processions like the ‘Nagar Kirtan’, take place wherein they recite hymns from the Sikh holy book – Guru Granth Sahib. Five khalsas dressed as Panj Pyaras, lead the processions through the streets

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8. On Vaisakhi Gurudwaras are decorated and host kirtans. People gather to socialize and share festive foods. As a mandate, they visit the Golden Temple on this day

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9. The Granth Sahib is bathed with milk and water, placed on a throne, and read. Later in the afternoon, the Granth Sahib is taken out in procession, accompanied by music, singing, chanting, and performances.

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10. Baisakhi celebrations are quite popular overseas too. Thanks to a significant Sikh population in Toronto, London, New York and New Jersey

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