Baisakhi or Vaisakhi Festival is celebrated as the Sikh New Year and the founding of the Khalsa Panth. History of Baisakhi traces its origin from the Baisakhi Day celebrations of 1699 organized by the Tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh to form Khalsa – Brotherhood of Saint Soldiers to fight against tyranny and oppression. It is one of the most important dates in the Sikh calendar. It is the Sikh New Year festival and is celebrated on April 13. It also commemorates 1699, the year Sikhism was born as a collective faith. It observes major events in the history of Sikhism and the Indian subcontinent that happened in the Punjab region. The significance of Vaisakhi as a major Sikh festival marking the birth of Sikh order started after the persecution and execution of Guru Tegh Bahadur for refusing to convert to Islam under the orders of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb.History
Vaisakhi is a long established harvest festival in the Punjab. It had been celebrated long before it gained an added dimension for Sikhs. In 1699 the tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh, chose Vaisakhi as the occasion to transform the Sikhs into a family of soldier saints, known as the Khalsa Panth. Guru Gobind Singh founded the Khalsa in front of thousands at Anandpur Sahib.During the Vaisakhi festival Guru Gobind Singh came out of a tent carrying a sword. He challenged any Sikh who was prepared to give his life to come into the tent. The Guru returned alone with his sword covered in blood. He then requested another volunteer and repeated the same action four times until five men disappeared into the tent. The crowd was very concerned until they saw five men return wearing turbans with the Guru.These five men became known as the Panj Piare, or ‘Beloved Five’. The men were then baptised into the Khalsa by the Guru. He sprinkled them with Amrit (‘immortalising nectar’: the Sikh term for holy water) and said prayers. This is the basis of the Sikh baptism ceremony. Celebration
Baisakhi is celebrated with lot of joy and enthusiasm in the northern state of Punjab and Haryana. In the villages of Punjab and Haryana, the day of Vaisakhi is full of colors and vibrancy. High point of Vaisakhi celebrations in villages is the performance of traditional folk dance bhangra and Gidda by men and women respectively.Sikhs celebrate this very important day of their religion with joy and devotion. They take an early bath, wear new clothes and visit the neighborhood gurdwara to participate in the special prayer meet marked for the day. After a special ardas of kirtans and discourses kada prasad is distributed amongst all present. Later, people sit in rows to relish the langar and served by kar sevaks or volunteers. Major celebrations of Vaisakhi are organized at Golden Temple, Amritsar. Most Sikhs strive to visit Golden Temple on the occasion.
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