Baisakhi,is New Year’s Day in Punjab. And, like New Year across the world, it’s celebrated with much gusto. The day, besides being the start of a new year, is also a harvest festival, as it marks the maturing of the winter crop- and the last major festival before farmers roll up their sleeves and begin harvesting the grain.
For the Sikhs, Baisakhi holds even greater significance as it commemorates the day, in 1699, when the tenth Sikh guru, Guru Gobind Singh, founded the Khalsa Panth.
Baisakhi is popular in Assam as Rongali Bihu, and in Kerala it is known as Vishu.
In Punjab, Baisakhi is celebrated with the utmost fervor and exuberance. The Punjabis celebrate by dancing the Giddha and Bhangra in gay abandon in the fields. On this auspicious day, traditionally, the Sikhs pay a visit to the Gurudwara and pay their respects. Religious discourses and kirtans are held at gurudwaras, and karah prasad is distributed. Langar or community lunch is also held at gurudwaras. Volunteers serve meal to the public. On Baisakhi Day, in honor of the Panj Piaras, religious procession is set out in which five men walk in front of the holy book, with sword in their hands. These men are the religious heads who are second only to the gurus. Devotional music is played during the procession, and hymns are sung, both along the way and at gurudwaras. Dressed in their distinct folk attire, both men and women express their joy by dancing the Bhangra and Gidda.
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