The festival of Baisakhi is a harvest festival celebrated across India among the Sikh community. Popularly known as Vaisakhi, it will be celebrated on April 14 this year.
Baisakhi is an ancient festival dating back to the 17th century, also marks the beginning of a new solar year and harvest season. It is one of the most significant holidays in the Sikh calendar, commemorating the establishment of the Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib in 1699 by the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh.
It was on this day in 1699 that Guru Gobind Singh, the 10th Sikh guru, founded the Khalsa Panth and famously evoked nationalism and unity among his people at a meeting in Anandpur Sahib.
To mark the celebrations, devotees, irrespective of Sikh religion, throng at Gurdwara Punja Sahib Hassan Abdal and savour delicious Punjabi food to welcome the new year with great enthusiasm.
The celebrations start when devotees with flowers and offerings in their hands, proceed towards the Gurdawaras and temples before dawn.
The Indian Sikhs would also visit Gurdwara Janamesthan Nankana Sahib, Gurdwara Sacha Soda in Farooqabad, Gurdawara Kartarpur Narowal and Gurdwara Dera Sahib Lahore.
Other harvest festivals
Many harvest festivals similar to Vaisakhi are observed across the country through the year. Popular examples are Makar Sankranti, Onam and Pongal.
Sankranti involves kite flying, lud music and is celebrated widely in Rajasthan and Gujarat.
Onam is celebrated by Malayalis and famously involves activities like boat racing, Kaikottikali dance and rangoli making by women.