Baisakhi – the harvest festival and new year of Punjab has really interesting significance. It is mostly observed by Punjabis and Sikhs. It is also known as Vaisakhi or Vasakhi and is Vaisakhi is one of the three Hindu festivals chosen by Guru Amar Das to be celebrated by Sikhs.
- The most famous festival of Punjab is Baisakhi and is also the Punjabi new year. It falls on the month Baisakh, which is the first month of the Bikram Sambat Hindu Calendar and hence is known as Baisakhi.
- This day is also known as Naba Barsha in Bengal, Puthandu in Tamil Nadu, Rongali Bihu in Assam and Vaisakha in Bihar.
- This festival is considered to be a very important day for the Sikhs as in Sikhism this is the foundation day of Khalsa Panth. This day also has astrological significance. Khalsa was the name of the collective body of all the initiated Sikhs, represented by the Five Beloved-Ones (or the Panj Piare in Punjabi). It can also be called the Guru Panth, the embodiment of the Guru. The creation of Khalsa nation gave rise to 3 important aspects of Sikhism namely the Khalsa civilization; the Sikh form and the manner of implementing the philosophy of Guru Nanak as prescribed – Shabad surat abyass:
Suraṯ sabaḝ bẖav sĝgar ṯarī ai Nĝnak nĝm vakẖĝṇe
By Surat-Shabad do thou cross the ocean of phenomena
By uttering His Nam, O Nanak
The mission of Guru Nanak was achieved after the sacrifices of the Gurus, sacrifice by the four sons of Guru Gobind Singh and numerous sacrifices by shahid Singhs. These three aspects encompassed and protected all that was achieved during the 314 years.
- Astrologically, the date of Baisakhi is significant as it marks sun’s entry into Mesh Rashi hence it is also termed as Mesha Sankranti.
- This is also a very important day for farmers of the agriculturally rich states like Haryana and Punjab. After waking up early and dressing in new clothes, farmers visit temples and gurdwaras to express gratitude to God for the good harvest and seek blessings for ensuring agriculture season. Farmers also celebrate Baisakhi by performing energetic bhangra and gidda dance and participating in Baisakhi Fairs.
- This day is also significant for the Hindus as it was on this day in 1875 that Swami Dayanand Saraswati founded the Arya Samaj – a reformed sect of Hindus who are devoted to the Vedas for spiritual guidance and have discarded idol worship.
- Baisakhi day is relevant in another way as well for the Buddhists as Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment and Nirvana on this auspicious day.