Any Indian festival is a community celebration and Baisakhi is no different. Punjabis as a community are colourful, full of vigour, fun loving and equally brave. It is no wonder that when the last Guru of the Sikhs wanted to create the ‘Khalsa’ he asked these brave people to wear the 5 Ks and be ready to lay their lives for the nation. Everybody has read this story in their history books. He chose the day of Baisakhi to create the Khalsas’ or The ‘Pure Ones’ in 1699. This gives a lot of importance to this day as a great warrior class was created by Guru Gobind Singh ji.
This day is to thank the Almighty for an abundant crop. Don’t forget that ours was an agrarian society (we continue to be agricultural dominant even today), A good crop means good food, a robust clan and healthy men, women and children. Even today agriculture is dependent on the vagaries of nature as can be seen year after year. This year with the rains playing havoc a lot of crop standing in the fields is completely ruined. For the farmer whose sole income is dependent on the crop it is devastating. For us in cities, who work for a salary every month it is difficult to comprehend. For our children, more so as most of them see the monthly ration coming out of a shop. I remember, when as children we wasted any food, my granny would say think of the farmer. After all the grain is harvested from the field he goes and picks up each and every grain from the field one by one. If you collect even a hand full it would feed one person. It is a farmer’s hard work which satisfies our hunger. When the crop is bountiful he celebrates and even if it is not he prays for next year’s prosperity.
Vaisakhi or Baisakhi is a Punjabi harvest festival celebrated with a lot of gusto. After a long and cold winter, hard labour and vigilance in the fields the crop is finally harvested. Baisakhi celebrations with family and friends involve wishing each other and of course lots of good food, dancing and singing. In the villages fairs/melas are organized and in cities cultural programs are organized with Bhangra, gidda and Punjabi songs being sung by professional groups. According to the Sikh calendar Baisakhi falls on 13th of April every year and on the 14th of April every 36th year.