Baisakhi The Harvesting Festival of India
India is the land of religion, culture and tradition. It is also the birth place of four of the world’s major religions, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism. Society of India is entrenched with religion and religious customs. As India is a religious country, it has innumerable festivals that are celebrated throughout the year by each and every citizen.
Baisakhi (also called as “Vaisakhi”) is a significant festival of Northern India especially in the state Punjab every year. The day is marked as a new season of harvesting and good annual spring harvest, Baisakhi and the start of a new solar year the first day of the Sikh calendar, which happens to be the first day of the month of Vaisakha, and celebrated on 13th or 14th April.
The Festival, Baisakhi, is associated with harvest of Rabi crop. This festival creates an atmosphere of gratification, delight and fun all around. It is a historical and religious festival in Hinduism. It is observed by Hindus and Sikhs. Different cultures have a unique way to celebrate the spring harvest.
On the day Baisakhi, Guru Teg Bahadur was martyred and beheaded. After his death, he was replaced by his son, Guru Gobind Singh,the tenth Guru of Sikh, whose mainly desire was to impress upon his fellowmen, the need for the strength to sacrifice. He gave a new and militant form to a pacifist religion and created the Sikh as a soldier and warrior. This happened at the famous darbar (meeting) at Anandpur Sahib in the beginning of the 18th on the occasion of Baisakhi.
On the Day, Baisakhi
This festival is a harvest festival, devotees’ bath in sacred rivers in Ganges, Jhelum, Kaveri, visit temples, meet friends. In many parts of India, fair or mela is conducted where many types of swings or jhula, food items, and many other items are available. People make dishes like Punjab Mustard leaf vegetable (sarso da saag) and Roti made from Corn flour (Makki di roti) and special Punjabi Lassi made of Yoghurt, Buttermilk and sugar.
It is the way of thanking God for a great harvest. Bhangra dances are organized all across the state of Punjab and many interesting performances are held. Golden Temple, temples and other Gurudwaras are decorated and celebrated by bringing flowers, prayers are offered by devotees of various religions on this occasion.
On the day of Baisakhi, devotees walk slowly down the street. Once the people reaches the temple, The Guru Granth Sahib, the holy book of the Sikh’s, is taken out and a symbolic bath in milk and water is given. Then the book is read to the gathering of people. 5 priests take turns reading from the book to symbolize the original 5 gurus and a pot of sweet holy nectar (shahad) is produced and passed among the people and takes sip of it. When the reading is completed, Guru-Ka-Langar, a vegetarian lunch, is shared among everyone sitting there.
After having this vegetarian lunch, Guru-Ka-Langar, grand parades are held which include music, drums, singing, dancing, sword exhibitions, mock fights and many more throughout the region. Farmers also participate in these activities of the festival as this is a harvest day celebration.