Vaisakhi (Baisakhi) 2023 in India: Friday, 14 April 2023
What Is Baisakhi? When Is Baisakhi?Vaisakhi, also known as Baisakhi, is the first day of the Vaisakh month of the Hindu calendar and most commonly, this day falls on the 13th or 14th of April, each year. However, it is said that in the 1800s, Vaisakhi would fall around the 11th of April, but this is because the Sankrantis keep changing slowly. As per calculations, Vaisakhi will fall on April 29th in the year 2999!
Even though this is predominantly a harvest festival for the northern part of India, there are versions of the same festival that are celebrated in other parts of the country too. There are those who consider this the start of the solar calendar, which is why it is considered the start of the new year in several Indian cultures.
In some other parts of the country, this day is recognised as Vaisakha Sankranti and for many Hindus, this is a day to take a holy dip in sacred rivers like Ganga, Jhelum or Kaveri and then offer prayers at a temple. This is also considered a good day to buy new home decoration items and if you are looking to do the same, eCraftIndia would be a good place to do so.
Why Do We Celebrate Baisakhi?The festival of Baisakhi is mainly the harvest festival in the northern part of India – in Punjab and neighbouring states, this is when the Rabi crops are ready for harvest. For the farming states, this is a day that is observed as a day of thanksgiving – the farmers and their families will thank god and land for giving them a good crop and pray that the same be repeated next year as well. Given that the harvest is eventually sold, this is also a time when farmers have money in hand, allowing them a chance to celebrate.
What Is The History Of Vaisakhi?Even though the Baisakhi celebration is mainly associated with harvest, there are stories, especially in the Sikh culture associated with the festival.
One story goes like this – the Mughal ruler Aurangzeb made it mandatory that everyone had to convert to Islam, as he considered it the one true religion. However, there were those like Guru Teg Bahadurji who refused outright and were executed for denying the royal decree. His execution led to the ascension of the tenth guru of the Sikhs, Guru Gobind Singhji. From then on, for Guru Gobind Singh Ji Vaisakhi became an opportunity to increase the spirit of Khalsa. Khalsa was an organisation created by the ninth guru to protect and defend religious freedom of not just the Sikhs, but also others. It was on Baisakhi day that this organisation was formed and from that day on, there were more reasons for the Sikh people to celebrate this day.
Another story goes like this – in 1699, Guru Gobind decided to form the Khalsa – a name given to the Sikh people who had been baptised. During the Vaisakhi da mela or village festival, he walked out of a tent with a sword in his hand and asked how many Sikhs were willing to give up their lives for their faith. 5 men followed him into the tent and after a while, the Guru came out – in his hands he held a sword, dripping with blood. As the worried crowds looked on, the 5 men walked out of the tent with turbans on their heads and they became to be known as the Panj Pyare or the 5 beloved; the very first members of the Khalsa. From that day on, this day became one where the Sikh would be baptised or join the Khalsa.
There is also a story associated with Maharaja Ranjit Singh – it is said that he was proclaimed the king of the Sikh empire and his coronation was conducted on 12th of April in 1801, the same day as Baisakhi and the coronation was done by a descendant of Guru Nanak Devji, Sahib Singh Bedi.
A sad story that is associated with Vaishaki is the Jallianwala Bagh massacre – on 13th April, 1919, several people had congregated at the Jallianwala Bagh to listen to local leaders speak about the need to fight for the freedom of India. All of a sudden, Bengal Army officer Reginald Dyer ordered his troops to open fire on the peaceful crowd. Hundreds died that day and to date, this day is considered a day of remembrance for the martyrs who lost their life that day.
Who Celebrates Vaisakhi?Baisakhi is celebrated in several parts of the country including Assam, Bengal, Bihar, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh. For many of these states, this is the start of the new Hindu calendar year and is a time for celebration, mainly because the crops have been harvested and people have money, as well as time to spare. In the Hindu legends, it is also believed that this was the day when the river goddess Ganga, descended on earth, which is why people choose this day to take a dip in the holy waters of this river. There are fairs and special poojas on this day at holy cities like Haridwar.
In the southern part of India, this day is known as Mesha Sankranti, which is the first day of the solar cycle year and is hence the new year for the states of Kerala and Tamil Nadu. This day is also the new year for a few states in the eastern part of India, mainly Bengal and Assam, where the people celebrate it as Pohela Boishakh and Bihu respectively.
You can find a wide range of gifts for Baisakhi at eCraftIndia, where you can buy gifts online – whether you are looking for something with a Punjabi touch or something inherently Keralite, you will be able to find something for everyone.
How Do We Celebrate Baisakhi?The methods of celebration of the Baisakhi festival will vary from state to state - in Punjab this is a very important day and the celebrations are incredible and immensely colourful – gurudwaras are decked up and people attend kirtans. Karah Prasad is served to all the devotees and many choose to eat at the gurudwara langar.
In many cities and towns, there will be a nagar kirtan – a travelling spiritual musical procession that is generally headed by representatives of the Punj Pyare. There are also local fairs, known as melas and the annual fair at Takht Kesgarh Sahib, Anandpur Sahib is considered one of the best. Special celebrations also take place in cities like Amritsar, Delhi and Patna, where there are renowned gurudwaras. Given that Baisakhi is a harvest festival, there is a tradition of everyone getting together to start the harvest, to the beat of drums and folk songs.
Several people choose to buy new Guru Nanak paintings or Golden Temple paintings that they can display in their homes or even their workspaces.
Why Do You Wear Orange On Vaisakhi?The colours orange as well as yellow are often considered synonymous with Baisakhi festival celebration, but there is a reason why the two are preferred. For starters, these colours are meant to signify abundance – fields of wheat have a tinge of yellow when they are ready to be harvested. Yellow is also considered the colour of happiness and celebration.
For the Punjabi and Sikh people, orange is the colour of sacrifice, in particular the ones made by the Punj Pyare, which is why, you will see a lot of Sikh people in shades of orange or yellow on this day.
If you are planning to celebrate Vaisakhi day at home, then you can invite your loved ones over and enjoy a lavish feast with them. You could also exchange Vaisakhi gifts, a plethora of which are on offer at eCraftIndia.