Belfast Live – When is Vaisakhi 2018? What is it and why do Sikhs celebrate it?

Everything you need to know about the religious festival (???)

Nisha Mal

Belfast – Northern Ireland – UK, 6 APR 2018. Sikhs around the world will be celebrating an important religious festival this month.

Vaisakhi holds a strong significance for followers of the faith, as it recognises the birth of Guru Gobind Singh’s Khalsa.

As well as this, it is also an important date for farmers, and agriculture, as it is a time to give thanks for the harvest and to hope for another good year.

Here is everything you to need to know about Vaisakhi.

When is Vaisakhi?

It will fall on Saturday, April 14. The holy event is celebrated on the same day each year, as the date is not determined by the lunar calendar.

What is Vaisakhi?

Vaisakhi, also known as Baisakhi, is one of the most important dates in the Sikh calendar.

It commemorates the year of 1699 when Guru Gobind Singh – a spiritual leader, warrior, poet and philosopher – founded the order of the Khalsa.

Sikhs believe that on April 14, 1699 Guru Gobind Singh called all Sikhs to the Indian city of Anandpur Sahib, Punjab.

At the gathering he asked all those in attendance to uphold their faith and preserve the religion.

The Guru is then said to have lifted his sword and asked the crowd who was prepared to die for their faith.

One by one five men stepped forward, and they were all taken into a tent separately. After a short while Guru Gobind Singh reappeared with a bloodied sword, and the five of the men reappeared behind him – they were all dressed in blue garments.

Guru Gobind Singh called the five men the ‘Panj Pyare’, which means the Five Beloved Ones.

After they reappeared from the tent, the Panj Pyare were baptised. It’s thought that once the Guru had finished the rituals, he lent down and asked them to baptise him.

To this day the five men are known as the first members of the Khalsa.

He then said that the Panj Pyare would be the embodiment of himself: “Where there are Panj Pyare, there am I. When the Five meet, they are the holiest of the holy.”

In the north Indian state of Punjab, Vaisakhi is also a time to celebrate the spring harvest and vegetation.

How is it celebrated?

Followers of the faith commemorate the day with processions, which are known as ‘nagar kirtan’.

A nagar kirtan is lead by five men in ceremonial dress – to represent the Panj Pyare – and performers, floats and drummers playing the dhol follow behind.

The event is similar to carnival as people line the streets singing hymns. There are also usually lots of food and tea stalls giving out vegetarian snacks such as onion bhajis and samosas, as well as chai.

Everything you need to know ?
I think that it was an initiation ceremony rather than a baptism, and on a minor point onion bhajis should be pakore, which contain onion but also other vegetables.
Both Guru Teg Bahadur and Guru Gobind Singh were not  just standing up for the Sikh ‘faith’ (dharm) but also for others who were oppressed by the bigoted Mughal emperor Aurangzeb.
And although Vaisakhi is a happy festival, comparing it with carnival is inappropriate.
Man in Blue

https://www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/vaisakhi-2018-what-sikhs-celebrate-14496711

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