What is Vaisakhi?
Vaisakhi is a Sikh holy day and is also the celebration of the New Year in the Nanakshahi calendar. Vaisakhi is also called Baisakhi. This harvest celebration takes place annually and harvesters celebrate and rejoice about the New Year and the harvested crops. However, there was added meaning to the celebration in 1699 when the Khalsa Panth (type of religious warrior) organization was established during the Vaisakhi Festival.
The 10th Guru Gobind Singh asked who in a crowd of thousands was prepared to die for the cause of religion. Eventually five men volunteered to give their lives but the Guru Gobind Singh did not kill the men. Instead he baptized them and the men became the first five members of a group called Khalsa. The tradition of Sikh baptism during the Vaisakhi festival originated from this historic event.
What do people do during Vaisakhi?
Many people in India celebrate Vaisakhi by dancing, singing, dressing in holiday finery, observing wrestling bouts and enjoying the many parades that take place at this time. Men dance the Bhangra and women dance the Gidda to celebrate this event. People enjoy holiday foods and special treats.