Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Vaiksakhi April 13 2016 - Why is Vaisakhi Celebrated?

Vaisakhi or Baisakhi Summary

  • It is a Punjabi Festival day celebrated by Farmers, Sikhs, and Hindus. It occurs annually in April. This year it is celebrated, April 13, 2016. It is celebrated in Indian & Pakistani states, which were once part of the larger "Punjab" during the Sikh Empire, under Maharaja Ranjit Singh: Punjab (India & Pakistan), Delhi Haryana, Jammu, Himachal Pardesh, parts of Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, and also in other areas well. Overseas, it is celebrated by Sikhs and many major festivals are held in America, Canada, Australia, and  the United Kingdom. It is celebrated by:
    • Sikhs because it marks the day the Khalsa was established by Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji.
    • Farmers as a thanksgiving day, thanking God for their harvest.
    • Hindus as the 1st day of Vaisakha, the 1st month of the solar calender; essentially, it is a new years day for those following a solar-lunar calendar.

Harvest Festival

  • Vaisakhi is a Punjabi harvest festival for people of the Punjab region.[4] This day is also observed as a thanksgiving day by farmers whereby farmers pay their tribute, thanking God for the abundant harvest and also praying for future prosperity. There are many celebrations that involve food, dance, and other activities.

Vaisakhi for Sikhs

  • Vaisakhi (also spelled Baisakhi) is the festival which celebrates the founding of the Sikh community known as the Khalsa. It is celebrated on April 14 each year. On Vaisakhi day in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh summoned Sikhs from all over India to the city of Anandpur Sahib. At this gathering, the Guru called upon Sikhs to uphold their faith and preserve the Sikh religion. Guru Gobind Singh then lifted his sword and asked that anyone prepared to give his life for his faith to come forward. There was a big silence, but the Guru went on repeating his demand. One Sikh finally came forward and followed the Guru into a tent. Shortly after, the Guru reappeared alone with his sword covered in blood, and asked for a second volunteer. Another Sikh stepped forward and again the Guru took him into the tent, and re-appeared alone with his sword covered with blood. This was repeated until five Sikhs had offered their heads for the Guru. Finally, the Guru emerged from the tent with all five men dressed piously in blue. Guru Gobind Singh called the five Sikhs the Panj Pyare, the Five Beloved Ones.
  • The Panj Pyare were then baptized in a unique ceremony called pahul. Guru Gobind Singh prepared amrit (holy water) in a bowl using a short steel sword. Then the Guru's wife, Mata Sundri, added patashas (sugar crystals) into the amrit. After completing prayers, Guru Gobind Singh sprinkled the amrit on each of the Panj Pyare. The Guru then knelt before the five and asked them to baptize him as well. The Guru proclaimed that the Panj Pyare would be the embodiment of the Guru himself: "Where there are Panj Pyare, there am I. When the Five meet, they are the holiest of the holy."
  • The Panj Pyare were the first members of the new Sikh community called the Khalsa. Guru Gobind Singh gave the Khalsa a unique identity with five distinctive symbols of purity and courage, known today as the Five K's. The Guru gave all Khalsa men the surname of Singh (lion) as a reminder to be courageous. Women took on the surname Kaur (princess) to emphasize dignity. With the distinct Khalsa identity, Guru Gobind Singh gave all Sikhs the opportunity to live lives of courage, sacrifice, and equality. These Sikhs were to dedicate their lives to the service of others and the pursuit of justice.
Panj Pyare

Bhai Daya Singh

  • First of the Panj Pyare.
  • Along with Bhai Dharam Singh, was sent to deliver the Zafarnamah to Emperor Aurangzeb.
  • Exemplified kindness.

Bhai Dharam Singh

  • The second of the Panj Pyare.
  • Son of a farmer from Hastinapur, a small town along the river Ganges.
  • Accompanied Guru Gobind Singh to Nanded and was him at the time of his death.
  • Exemplified justice and righteousness.

Bhai Mukham Singh

  • The third of the Panj Pyare.
  • Son of a cloth-printer from Gujarat.
  • Practiced martial arts and took part in many battles against the Mughal forces.
  • Died in the battle of Chamkaur.
  • Exemplified organization.

Bhai Himmat Singh

  • The fourth of the Panj Pyare.
  • Son of a water-supplier from Jagannathpuri.
  • Proved himself as a brave warrior.
  • Died in the battle of Chamkaur.
  • Exemplified courage.

Bhai Sahib Singh

  • The fifth of the Panj Pyare.
  • Son of a barber from Bidar, a town in Karnataka.
  • Died in the battle of Chamkaur.
  • Exemplified majesty.

 Baisakhi for Hindus

  • Baisakhi has special significance for two of India's major religious groups. For the Hindus, it is the start of the New Year, and is celebrated with requisite bathing, partying, and worshipping. It's believed that thousands of years ago, Goddess Ganga descended to earth and in Her honor, many Hindus gather along the sacred Ganges River for ritual baths. The action is centered in the holy cities along the Ganges in north India, or in Srinagar's Mughal Gardens, Jammu's Nagbani Temple, or anywhere in Tamil Nadu. Hindus plant poles (wrapped in flags of god-embroidered silk) in front of their homes, and hang pots of brass, copper or silver on top.
     In Kerala, the festival is called 'Vishu'. It includes fireworks, shopping for new clothes and interesting displays called 'Vishu Kani'. These are arrangements of flowers, grains, fruits, cloth, gold, and money are viewed early in the morning, to ensure a year of prosperity. In Assam, the festival is called Bohag Bihu, and the community organizes massive feasts, music and dancing.


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