Vaisakhi is a harvest festival which is celebrated in the Punjab region of South Asia on the first day of Vaisakh on the Punjab calendar. Which is around April 13th or 14th on the Gregorian calendar. It not only marks the beginning of the New Year but is also a day that honors the Sikh faith and traditions.
History of Vaisakhi
This holiday has been celebrated as a harvest festival for hundreds upon hundreds of years in the Punjab region of South Asia. However, it wasn’t until 1699 that the tenth guru known as Guru Gobind Singh decided to use the harvest festival as a way to transform the Sikhs into soldier saints known as the Khalsa Panth.
He did this by coming out of the Vaisakhi tent with a sword in his hand and challenging any Sikh who was prepared to give up his own life into his tent. The first Sikh volunteered and followed Guru Gobind Singh into his tent.
After a moment, the Guru returned alone the sword still in his hand but now covered in blood. He then asked for another volunteer, and after that another one. Each time, the Sikh would disappear into the tent and the Guru would return alone. Finally, after the 5th man disappeared into the tent, the Guru issued and order and they emerged from his tent.
He then named these 5 men Panj Piare or “Beloved Five.” The Guru then baptized the men with Amrit and said prayers over them. This tradition would then become the basis of the baptism ceremony for Sikhs.
Vaisakhi Customs & Celebrations
Vaisakhi is celebrated in a variety of different ways. However, many of these traditions have much of the same things in common. For instance, Gurdwaras are often elaborated decorated and the faithful goes inside them to pray.
Also, many people take time out of the day to enjoy parades and music. During this day, Sikhs are often baptized on this day. On this day, most government offices are open but citizens can often take a restricted holiday in order to celebrate Vaisakhi.