What is Baisakhi and Its Significance?

By Remitbee - Apr 7, 2021

This is considered one of the most popular festivals in the Punjab and Haryana states. In different parts of the country, the festival is known by different names, such as Rongali Bihu in Assam, Rongali Bihu in West Bengal, Vaishakha in Bihar, Vishu in Kerala, and Puthandu in Tamil Nadu. Baisakhi is observed on April 13th Every year. It is only celebrated once every 36 years on April 14th. People of the Hindu and Sikh religions view and celebrate this day in the following ways.

The Significance of Baisakhi

Baisakhi is considered one of the three major Hindu festivals for Sikhs. Diwali and Maha Shivratri are the other two. For a variety of purposes, the day is considered auspicious and celebrated.

This ancient Hindu festival commemorates the beginning of the Solar Year. On this day, Hindus also celebrate the spring harvest. It's also a spring harvest festival for Sikhs. For those in the Sikh culture, it is the first day of the New Year. In history this was remembered as the persecution and execution of Guru Tegh Bahadur, who refused to convert to Islam as ordered by Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, this day marked the beginning of the Sikh order. This culminated in the tenth Sikh Guru's coronation. Both of these things happened on Baisakhi Day.

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Baisakhi Celebrations

On Baisakhi, Gurudwaras which is a place of worship are decorated with lights and flowers, and community fairs and Nagar kirtan processions are held to commemorate the occasion. Nagar kirtan processions are also conducted in many locations throughout the world, with massive gatherings attending. During these processions, people sing holy songs, crack crackers, and distribute sweets. As a result, prayers are given, and people appreciate and celebrate the festival through these huge processions.

On this day, many people also go to nearby rivers or lakes early in the morning to take a holy dip before visiting Gurudwaras. Hindus engage in the festival by a dip in sacred rivers such as the Ganga, Kaveri, and Jhelum, as well as visiting temples. Many pilgrims even visit the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab, which is regarded as Sikhism's holiest Gurudwara.

As part of the celebration, everyone plans to get-togethers and share festive foods with their loved ones. This celebration is also called in different names by Hindus in different regions, Pohela Boishakh in Bengal, Bohag Bihu, or Rangali Bihu in Assam and other North-Eastern states of India, Vishu in Kerela, and Puthandu in Tamil Nadu. For these cultures, today is the first day of the year.

Baisakhi is celebrated with zeal across the country and world, especially in Punjab, where people march in procession, light firecrackers, host a feast for their loved ones, and generally have a good time.

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Canada's Sikh Population and Baisakhi

Canada has a large Sikh population, and the Sikh community in Canada comes alive on April 13th for Baisakhi celebrations. Large, local Sikh communities in the cities of Vancouver, Abbotsford, and Surrey hold annual Vaisakhi celebrations in April, which include two Nagar Kirtans (parades).

Surrey, a city rich in Sikh culture and people, is located in the Canadian province of British Columbia. The Gurdwara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar Temple is one of the most important contributors to Baisakhi celebrations in Canada, particularly in Surrey. The Surrey Vaisakhi parade, which is said to be the largest Baisakhi celebration in Canada and outside of India, is organized by the Gurdwara. The parade has been organized by the Gurdwara for nearly two decades.

The Sikh community welcomes people from all walks of life to participate in the parade, and this welcoming attitude has helped Baisakhi celebrations in Canada become a worldwide phenomenon.

In the province of Alberta, the Edmonton Vaisakhi parade takes place in May and travels between the Gurdwara Singh Sabha (4504 Millwoods Road S) and Gurdwara Millwoods (2606 Millwoods Road E) temples.

The Maritime Sikh Society in Halifax, Nova Scotia, hosts Vaisakhi celebrations in April, with Shabad Kirtan performed by professional ragis (musicians).

In the Province of Ontario, the Toronto Vaisakhi Parade takes place in April, and it begins at the Canadian National Exhibition grounds and ends nearly three hours later at Toronto City Hall. After the parade, dignitaries address the crowd until late in the afternoon. In the city of Brampton, Vaisakhi cultural events include yoga, pagh (turban) tying, storytelling, and food fairs at the Gurudwara Sikh Sangat temple and Gobind Sarvar Gurmat School. In the Province of Saskatchewan, the Saskatoon Vaisakhi parade takes place in May and it begins and ends at the Gurudwara Sahib Temple at 331 Lowe Road.

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