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Baisakhi - The Harvest Festival

Baisakhi, or Vaisakhi, is a harvest festival celebrated mainly in the Punjab region and also in some northern states such as Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. It marks the first day of the month of Baisakh and signifies a new harvest season. In many places the day is marked by ritualistic bathing in sacred rivers like the Ganges. This day has importance to both Hindus and Sikhs.

In Sikhism, it commemorates the establishment of the Khalsa at Anandpur Sahib in 1699 by the 10th Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. For Hindus, it is the first day of the Hindu solar new year.

To mark the celebrations, devotees, irrespective of religion, visit the Gurudwara with flowers and offerings at dawn. Processions through towns are also common. It is believed to be the day on which the Khalsa was born and Sikhs were given a clear identity and a code of conduct to live by. Kirtans and recital of passages from the Granth Sahib are held and people line up to receive the delicious prasad and perform kar sewa, offering help in the daily chores of the Gurdwara.

Baisakhi celebrations include the Bhangra and Gidda dances, both very lively dance forms generating lot of excitement and energy. Joyful cries of “Jatta aai Baisakhi” are heard everywhere as people greet each other. Fairs are organized in various places for the community to gather and celebrate the joyous occasion.