Saturday, April 13, 2013

Baisakhi, the harvest festival of Punjab

Baisakhi is one of the major festivals of Sikhs and is celebrated with lot of enthusiasm and gaiety in the state of Punjab and all throughout the world where there is a significant Sikh population. For the large farming community of Punjab, Baisakhi Festival marks the time for harvest of rabi crops and they celebrate the day by performing joyful bhangra and gidda dance
Date of Baisakhi
 Baisakhi Festival falls on the first day of Vaisakh month (April-May) according to Nanakshahi or Sikh Calendar. For this reason, Baisakhi is also popularly known as Vaisakhi. According to English calendar, the date of Baisakhi corresponds to April 13 every year and April 14 once in every 36 years
The auspicious date of Baisakhi is celebrated all over India under different names and different set of rituals and celebrations. Baisakhi date coincides with 'Rongali Bihu' in Assam, 'Naba Barsha' in Bengal, Puthandu in Tamil Nadu and 'Pooram Vishu' in Kerala.



Baisakhi Celebrations
         People of Punjab celebrate the festival of Baisakhi with exuberance and devotion. As the festival has tremendous importance in Sikh religion, major activities of the day are organized in Gurdwaras. People wake up early to prepare for the day. Many also take bath in the holy river to mark the auspicious occasion. After getting ready people pay a visit to their neighbourdood gurdwara and take part in the special prayer meeting organized for the day. At the end of the Baisakhi ardas, congregates receive specially prepared Kara prasad or sweetened semolina. This is followed by a guru ka langar or community lunch.

Later, during the day people of Sikh faith take out a Baisakhi procession under the leadership of Panj piaras. The procession moves through the major localities of the city amidst the rendition of devotional songs by the participating men, women and children. Mock duels, bhangra and gidda performances make the procession joyous and colourful.
On Baisakhi, farmers thank god for the bountiful crop and pray for good times ahead. People buy new clothes and make merry by singing, dancing and enjoying the best of festive food.

Cries of "Jatta aai Baisakhi", rent the skies as gaily men and women break into the bhangra and gidda dance to express their joy. Everyday farming scenes of sowing, harvesting, winnowing and gathering of crops are expressed through zestful movements of the body to the accompaniment of ballads and dhol music.

In several villages of Punjab Baisakhi Fairs are organized where besides other recreational activities, wrestling bouts are also held.



Legends of Baisakhi




There are various legends associated with the colourful and vibrant festival of Baisakhi. A study of these interesting legends of Baisakhi reveal that the day of Baisakhi is significant not just for Sikhs but also for Hindus and Buddhists alike. Besides, it is joyous to note that as a harvest festival, people of all communities in Punjab celebrate Baisakhi in a harmonious manner.

Baisakhi Regional Celebrations

Regional celebrations of Baisakhi are marked as Rongali Bihu in Assam, Naba Barsha in Bengal, Puthandu in Tamil Nadu, Vishu in Kerala and Vaishakha in Bihar. In a relatively much different form, Baisakhi celebrations are marked in the hilly state of Himachal Pradesh. Here, Baisakhi is celebrated twice a year in the months of Vaishakha (April-May) and Kartika (November). People celebrate Baisakhi by worshipping Goddess Jwalamukhi and paying tribute to the deity’s idol near a popular hot spring that issues flames




1 comment:

  1. Nice post on Baisakhi which refers to the harvest festival of the Punjab region and the Punjabi new year on the same day. Celebrated on 13th April, it marks the birth of the Khalsa. Baisakhi celebration in india is an occasion of dancing, singing and wearing festive clothes.

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