An integral region of India, Punjab is all set to celebrate their ancient festival Baisakhi. The festival is observed in every regions of Punjab and some parts of Haryana. The festival is celebrated as the “Harvest Festival of Punjab”. According to Hindu calendar, it marks as the beginning of a new year. The Baisakhi festival is also a symbol of love and gratitude with a historical significance for Sikh community. The day is observed as the day of establishment of Khalsa Panth by Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
The Baisakhi festival is celebrated with pure hearts and great joy. The land of Punjab is infused with kind hearted people and the festival is celebrated by offering prayers to the God for a good harvest. The festival can be attended being in a village of Punjab where the farmers are in a euphoric mood to celebrate the festival with their best resources available. The celebration of the festival starts by donning new clothes, followed by a procession to Gurudwara with Guru Granth Sahib and the festival ends with charitable activities by Sikh leaders.
The festival is celebrated in the fields by farmers and their family. It looks amazingly wonderful to see the Punjabi men and women dressed in their traditional dresses and headgears dancing on the beats of Dhol. The Bhangra and Gidda dance forms are performed at several places in Punjab and Haryana to celebrate the festivity of Baisakhi.
The Significance of the Day
The significance of the festival is observed not only in the Punjab and Haryana, but the festival is celebrated in many states by different names and local customs. According to the Hindu calendar, the Baisakhi is observed as beginning of a new year. The festival also emits cultural vibrancy in foreign countries such as Canada and Manchester, where a large number of Sikh people reside. The festival attracts the family members from all over the states who are posted in different locations for performing their duties. This is a celebration which the Sikh community celebrates with all their family members together with great eagerness, pomp and jubilance.
The Significance of festival for Sikh community
The festival is a harvest festival for the farmers indeed, but the Baisakhi has a great historical significance in the history of Sikhism. On this day, the tenth Guru of Sikh Guru Gobind Singh Ji has called his followers at Anandpur Sahib. His speech and courageous attitude of bravery and freedom attracted thousands of men and women to accept the “Sikhhism” regardless their cast, creed and race. He also called five fearless men who also got the position of “Panj Pyare” as Sikh warrior saints. On this day, Guru Gobind Singh also discontinued the legacy of “Guru” or head of the community and appealed to his followers to situate and settle their soul, faith and feelings in “Gurugrantah Sahib”. On this auspicious day, after choosing the Panj Pyare, Guru ji established the “Khalsa Panth” demolishing the unequal hierarchy of cast that had divided the Sikh community. The day is marked as very important day in the history of Sikhism.
A Festival of Harmony, Grace and Charity
By demolishing the unequal hierarchy of cast and establishing the “Khalsa Panth” was a major historical incident of the Sikhism. This bold step of Guru Gobind Singh was accepted by all his followers and thus a pillar of communal harmony got built up on that day. To mark the day and disburse the feeling of equality and harmony, the Sikh people celebrate the day with a feeling of humanity and their perseverance to maintain tolerance, brotherly love and generosity for every fellow-being on the earth. By the evening of Baisakhi, the leaders and followers of Khalsa Panth perform various charitable activities and distribute grains or other usable articles among the children and needy one.
The Celebration of Baisakhi by the Sikh community
The Sikh people take an early bath in the morning. They get dressed in their traditional Punjabi attire. Some people also put on Headgear symbolizing Guru Nanak Dev or Guru Gobind Singh Ji. The Sikh men and women with zeal to celebrate Baisakhi take part in the procession which is headed by the Panj Pyare Sikh Saint with Guru Granth Sahib. The procession gets crowded by the followers and it signifies the meritorious Punjabi culture in depth. The procession is also made interesting enough with the traditional music, drum beats and Dhol-Nagada band music. The Baisakhi dancers are dressed in their traditional attire to perform Bhangara and Gidda dance. The procession stops at the nearby Gurudwara after Nagar-Kirtan. At the Gurudwara, special prayers are offered to the Guru Granth Sahib. And “Kada Prasad” is distributed amongst the followers and people present at Gurudwara. The festival continues by a community lunch known as “Langar” to relish the blessed meal. The greatest procession is held at Golden temple, Amritsar.The exchanges of gifts have also become a tradition of the festival. People greet each other, their friends and relatives with a box of sweets and other traditional gifting items.
Dishes and food being prepared on Baisakhi
The Punjabi cuisines have a special significance during the entire festival. Since Punjab is called the ‘Bread Basket of Nation” the traditional dish called “Makke-di-roti and Sarson-da saag” is a must décor of any Punjabi platter. If you are also one of them, who think the same, just hold on!!! The Punjabi cuisines specially prepared on the day of Baisakhi.
- Gud ka Halwa: To relish your sweet tooth on Baisakhi, Gud Ka Halwa is the best option to satiate your sweet desire after meal. The tasty cuisine is made of Ghee and Gud (Jaggery). The topping of different dry fruits make it more delicious and you will lose yourself in a world of authentic sweets after a spoonful of this desert.
- Kesari Chawal: This rice based cuisine is prepared with sugar syrup, dry fruits and fragrant saffron threads. It simply tastes “Wow”! Tip: Be generous while using dry fruits.
- Punjabi Kadhi-Pakode: The cuisine is made of gram flour (besan) with addition of different hot spices and full cream curd. The broth goes well with rice. The Pakoda (fried balls of Gram Flour) adds an additional treat in this tasty preparation.
There are a number of more recipes that are prepared on the day of Baisakhi at different places of Punjab. To enjoy the colorful festival of joy, harmony and brotherhood, book your train tickets and order food online in train to enjoy your journey. Heading towards your home to celebrate Baisakhi with family and friends, is the real joy of Baisakhi. So enjoy the festival and pay a gratitude to our diverse country and culture which has blessed us with festivals like Baisakhi.