One of the most popular festivals celebrated
in the land of five rivers – Punjab is known as Baisakhi. Baisakhi is celebrated in the context of harvesting of
Rabi crops. The religious significance behind the day is the foundation of
Khalsa Panth or Sikhism in 1699 by Guru Gobind Singh – the tenth sikh Guru.
The festival is celebrated on April 13 every
year but once in 36 years it takes place on April 14.There are performances of
Bhangra and Gidda dance while Gurudwaras serve special Langar after the prayers
The story behind the festival began when the
ninth Sikh guru, Guru Teg Bahadur was beheaded by Aurangzeb when the guru stood
for the rights of Hindus and Sikhs against the Mughal ruler who wanted to
spread Islam in India and convert the rest of the religions to Islam.
After the martyrdom of Guru Teg Bahadur, his
son Guru Gobind Singh became the next sikh Guru who was a warrior since always
and believed in injecting courage and bravery in his fellowmen.On March 30,
1699 he called up his fellowmen at Gurudwara Keshgarh Sahib near Anandpur.
Thousands of people gathered for Guru’s
blessings at the place and when Guru Gobind Singh came out, he had a sword in
one of his hands.He infused courage with a powerful speech in the people assembled
and at the end of the speech he asked for sacrifice. The Guru demanded that if
there is anyone prepared to give his life should come forward and a young man
came forward on the third call. The man was taken into the tents by Guru and
when Guru came back he was having a bloodied sword. Again guru asked for a
volunteer and this happened a total of 5 times. Everyone was believing that
Guru has killed all five Sikhs until Guru brought all of the five people
These five people were called Panj Pyaras or ‘beloved
five’ by the Guru and they were given the holy nectar by the guru called as
“Amrit” and later drunk by Guru from the Panj Pyaras. Now they were the members
of the Khalsa Panth and this led to amalgamation of the low castes and upper
castes as the one and surnames changed to Singh.
Baisakhi also earmarks the time for harvesting of Rabi i.e winter crops
and is therefore a significant time for the farmers.The state of Punjab and
Haryana which are richer agriculturally, thus have a significant impact of
Baisakhi as comaperd to the rest of the nation. The farmers thank the god for
the good cropping and visit temples and gurudwaras to express gratitude and ask
for blessings for the year to come.