Besides its diversity, India is also known for its vibrant festivals. Besides Holi, Diwali, Christmas, and New Year’s celebrations, each state of the country has its own key festivals replete with varied rituals and traditions. While some festivals are based on religious grounds, others celebrate aspects such as the harvest season, local folklore, and the culture of a particular region. Despite the reason or story associated with them, festivals in India are celebrated with much fervour and enthusiasm.
About Baisakhi Festival
Baisakhi, also known as Vaisakh Sankranti and Vaisakhi, is an important festival celebrated by Hindus and Sikhs. The Baisakhi harvest festival is celebrated primarily in the northern part of the country, especially in Punjab and Haryana. Different versions of the festival are celebrated across the country, with the state of Kerala commemorating it as Vishu and Assam celebrating it for a week as Rongali Bihu. The people of West Bengal observe the Baisakhi celebration as Pohela Boishakh and as Vaishakha in Bihar. The festival holds several different significance for each community. However, a common factor amongst all communities is that the day is considered highly auspicious and marks the onset of the spring season.
Significance And History Of Baisakhi
In 1699, the tenth Guru of the Sikh religion, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, established the Khalsa Pant, i.e., Sikhism, on this day. Baisakhi also marks the Sikh New Year and is therefore celebrated with much enthusiasm by the community. Guru Gobind Singh Ji held Baisakhi celebrations for the first time in 1699, where Khalsa (to be pure, to be clear, to be free from) was formed. The day also marked the formation of an army that was created by the Sikh Guru to fight the faults of the society and the Mughals.
Besides the rich history surrounding the Baisakhi Festival, several other traditions are also associated with it. Baisakhi celebrations mark the harvesting of Rabi crops, and farmers across the country celebrate the occasion by thanking God for a bountiful yield. Several Hindus observe Baisakhi as the Solar New Year. In Kerala, the Vishu or Baisakhi celebrations follow the tradition of presenting gifts to the family’s younger members, while in Assam, the start of the week-long Rongali Bihu is celebrated by dressing up in new clothes and seeking blessings from elders. In West Bengal, Baisakhi is an extremely auspicious occasion to start new ventures.
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Baisakhi Celebrations, Rituals and Food
The festival of Baisakhi is a grand affair, especially in the state of Punjab. The villages of Punjab are completely decked up for harvesting the crops, and people have a gala time visiting each other. Anandpur Sahib, renowned as the birthplace of Khalsa, sees people coming together to share meals and celebrate the occasion. Not just in Punjab, but Gurudwaras all across the country are decorated for Baisakhi celebrations, and a 48-hour Akhand Path and bogh take place in these religious sites. Kadah prasad, kirtan, and langar are other essential aspects of this celebration.
The Sikh community starts the Baisakhi celebration by taking a dip in rivers or lakes before heading to Gurudwaras to offer their prayers. At the same time, Hindus mark the occasion by taking a bath in the holy rivers of the Ganges or Jhelum.
Processions known as Nagar Kirtans are also a massive part of this auspicious festival. These festivities are preceded by five Khalsas dressed up as Panj Pyaare and occur during the early morning hours. Baisakhi fairs also mark the occasion, and people from all walks of life participate in the dancing and festivities. These fairs are also organized to boost local businesses. Native dance forms such as Gidda and Bhangra are also performed at different events across Punjab.
Punjabi cuisine is the most prevalent during Baisakhi celebrations. Dishes including Sarson Ka Saag, Chole Bhature, Kadhi- Chawal, Achari mutton, Kheer and lassi are some of the delicacies found across food stalls in the fairs that take place during Baisakhi celebrations.
This year Baisakhi falls on the 14th of April, a Friday. If you plan to travel to Punjab around this time, you are bound to have a fun-filled time. However, be sure to make the necessary preparations beforehand. Book your stay at one of the best hotels in Chandigarh, The LaLiT Chandigarh. Our finest hospitality and luxurious amenities will surely make your stay memorable.