marks the jubilation of a plentiful harvest and is celebrated on the
first day of the month of Baisakh (April/May). This is the
New Year's Day, going by the Saka calendar and corresponds to April 13th
of the Gregorian calendar.
Essentially, a North Indian harvest festival, it is the time for the
reaping of the Rabi (winter crop). Joyful Punjabis perform Bhangra
to dholak and enact the complete process of agriculture from the
tilling of the soil through harvesting. The name Baisakhi is
taken from the first month of the Vikram calendar.
Baisakhi is also known as the harvest festival and is considered
auspicious especially for marriages. Rivers, canals and ponds are
thronged by devotees who unfailingly take a ritual dip every year.
Many fairs are organized and people come in thousands to celebrate the
beginning of the New Year and watch the famous Bhangra dance
of Punjab. The Gurdwaras are full of people who come to listen to
Kirtans, offer prayers and feast on the prasad from the common kitchen (Langar).
For the Sikhs, the day has great spiritual meaning as Guru Gobind,
the 10th guru of Sikhs, established Khalsa was on this day at
Anandpur in 1699 AD. The Sikhs were baptized to form the Elect. This
baptism of the sword, called pahul, led to the creating of the Panj
Pyare, the Beloved Five. Each Khalsa was to adopt the
panch kakkas, (the five K's), Kesh (unshorn hair),
kanga (small boxwood comb in their hair), kaccha (a pair of
shorts), Kara (a steel bangle), and a kirpan (a short
dagger), which have since become an integral part of the Sikh identity.