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The Whys and Hows of Baisakhi

With WhatsApp messages and social media posts doing rounds across the country, doesn’t it make you wonder what exactly is Baisakhi and why is it such a big deal for the Indians, especially North Indians. Well considering the fact that Baisakhi is central to Sikhism, it makes sense that it is celebrated with even more fervour in Punjab and Haryana. The locals play drums, sing folk songs and dance on Bhangra beats, and this is just the beginning of the grand celebration that takes place in the evening. So, as the world celebrates Baisakhi today, we’ll take you on a virtual tour to the streets of Punjab to see why and how Baisakhi is celebrated.

Why is Baisakhi celebrated?

Baisakhi has different significance for the farmers and the Sikhs. For the agriculturally rich state of Punjab and Haryana, Baisakhi marks the day of Thanksgiving. It is the time for the harvest of Rabi crops and the villages of the states are full of colours and vibrancy. After waking up early and dressing themselves in traditional clothes, the farmers visit temples and gurudwaras to express gratitude to the Gods, and thank them for ensuing agriculture season.

Baisakhi stands equally important for the people following Sikh faith. As on this day, in 1699 the tenth Guru of Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa Panth in Anandpur Sahib and redefined Sikhism. So on this auspicious day, most of the Sikhs visit Golden Temple to seek blessings.

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How is Baisakhi celebrated?

Baisakhi is primarily a harvest festival, and its traditional celebration revolves around the harvest of Rabi crops and the agrarian way of life. Men, women and children can be seen partaking in the work on the field. Later in the evening, people perform the traditional Punjabi folk dance – Giddah and Bhangra. Also, there are various Baisakhi fairs organized to celebrate this day; wherein one can see the bands playing religious music and professionals performing bhangra to make the day even more colourful and enchanting.

Another high point of Baisakhi is the Baisakhi procession or nagar kirtan carried out by the Sikhs. People in huge numbers take part in this procession and attend special prayer meetings at Gurudwaras. The exchange of sweets and traditional gifts with friends and relatives also take place in the evening.

Here, we have focused on the celebration of Baisakhi in the North India, but the day is celebrated all over India under different names and different set of rituals. People in Bengal celebrate this day as the Bengali New Year under the name of ‘Pohela Boishakh’ and in Assam or Puthandu with the name or ‘Bohag Bihu’.

No matter the state or the religion, join in the grand celebrations Baisakhi and have a blissful day.
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