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Vaisakhi – How to Celebrate, Know the significance of Baisakhi & Harvest festival of Punjab

We will Celebrate Vaisakhi on 13 April 2021.

Vaisakhi –  Celebrations across India

Vaisakhi is traditionally the spring harvest festival and also the New Year for many communities in India. Vaisakhi is also known as Baisakhi. This day is also known as Vaisakha Sankranti. Vaisakhi is celebrated on the 13th or 14th of April every year. Vaisakhi falls on the first day of the Lunar month Vaisakh.   This is a day of joy and hope for people in many parts of the country. Vaisakhi is known by various names in different parts of the country such as Poila Baisakh, Bihu, Vishu, and Puthandu. Vaisakhi is also pronounced as ‘Baisakhi’ and the name of the month comes from Visakha Nakshatra.

Vaisakhi Mela in Haridwar

It is believed that this is the Day when Maa Ganga descended from Heaven and came to Earth. Maa Ganga’s force was such that Lord Shiva had to receive Her in HIs Jata to save the earth from massive floods and destruction. A huge fair attended by millions of devotees is traditionally arranged in Haridwar. Bathing at Brahma Kunda on this day is considered particularly auspicious. This year the Haridwar Kumbh Mela is also in progress giving this day added significance.

Vaisakhi in Punjab – A Very Special Day

For many of us the first thought that comes to mind when Baisakhi is mentioned, is of the Sikhs and Punjab. For Sikhs Baisakhi is not only the new year and beginning of the harvest season, it is also the day Guru Gobind Singh became the tenth Guru and ‘Khalsa Panth’ was formed in 1699. This was a very significant day in the history of the Sikhs. This day is also known as the Khalsa Sirijana Diwas. Before 1699 Vaisakhi was celebrated joyously across Punjab and with the creation of the Khalsa Panth the day was sanctified. Vaisakhi is also the day when Ranjit Singh was declared Maharaja of the Sikh Empire in 1801. 

How to Celebrate Baisakhi

Baisakhi is celebrated boisterously across Punjab.  This is the harvest festival of Punjab. People are dressed in colorful new clothes. Fairs and meals are organized in many places in Punjab. An annual Mela is held in Takht Keshgarh Sahib in Anandpur and a large procession is taken out. Anandpur is the birthplace of Khalsa Panth. Large gatherings are seen in Harmandir Sahib in Amritsar, also known as the Golden Temple. Special celebrations are held in Talwandi, the place where Guru Gobind Singh completed the recompilation of the Granth Sahib. Vaisakhi in Punjab is also the time of the ripening of the Rabi harvest. Farmers in Punjab offer prayers to God, in gratitude

for bountiful harvests and for future prosperity. Besides prayers, feasts, music, folk dances, and the traditional ‘Bhangra’ are some of the ways of celebrations all across the state.

Vaisakhi in other states

Vishu in Kerala – This day is celebrated as Vishu in Kerala. It is the first day of the Malayali month Medam. Vishu is more of a solemn day as compared to festivals like Onam. People like to view auspicious colorful items first thing in the morning. Vishu is an occasion for time with family, wearing new clothes, and fireworks in the evening. A special dish known as Sabda is prepared and people pray to Lord Vishnu and Krishna and visit temples.

Bohag Bihu in Assam – Also known as Rogali Bihu, this day is the Assamese new year and celebrations continue for a week. The day is also known as Vishuva Sankranti or Bohag. There are three types of  Bihu – Rongali Bihu, Kongali Bihu, and Bhogali Bihu. These three represent different agricultural cycles of paddy (rice) crops.

Poila Baisakh in Bengal –  Poila Baisakh at the beginning of the Bengali new year, marking the festival ‘Mangal Shubhojatra’. Besides Bengal, this is also celebrated in Tripura. Known as ‘Nobo Borsho’ in Bangla, this day is a day of feasts, new clothes, meeting family and friends, Cultural events like musical programs and dance competitions are organized. Poila Baisakh is listed in the UNESCO Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

Maha Vishuba Sankranti in Odisha – The start of the Odia new year, Maha Vishuba Sankranti is celebrated across Odisha with fanfare and zeal. People tie garlands of Neem leaves on their doorways for health benefits. A special drink made from jaggery, mango, pepper, and other spices called Panna is prepared. Tulsi Mata is worshipped. Folk and classical dance events are organized, particularly Chhau dance performances, which are dedicated to Lord Shiva.

Puthandu in Tamil Nadu – also known as Puthuvarusham, beginning of the Tamil New Year. This is the first day of the  Tamil month Chithirai. Houses are thoroughly cleaned and fruit trays are kept ready for visitors. New clothes are worn. People wish each other a Happy New Year. Time is spent with family and temples are visited. Youngsters seek blessings from their elders. Feasts are very much an important part of the celebrations.

Rest of India and the World

Besides these states, Vaisakhi is celebrated as Jur Sital in the Mithila region of Bihar and some parts of Nepal in their traditional ways. Vaisakhi in Himachal Pradesh is an important festival. People bathe early and light lamps which are placed in houses along with puja ingredients. Baisakhi is celebrated on river banks, lake shores, and ponds in Jammu. Folk dance performances and meals are held in many places. These means are attended by hundreds of thousands of people. Nag devta is worshipped and temples are visited. Baisakhi is particularly important for the Dogra community of Jammu. Vaisakhi is also celebrated by the Indian diaspora across the world. The US, UK and other European countries with large Indian presence see gatherings of Indians in temples and other community centers. The Sikhs and Punjabis, particularly in Canada, US, and Malaysia celebrate as they would have in India. 

Images of Baisakhi

Click here for Baisakhi images

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