Baisakhi is a popular festival in India celebrated in Punjab with huge fanfare and excitement. Every year, on the 13th or 14th of April, this festival marks the sikh new year and commemorates the formation of Khalsa panth of warriors under the tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh in 1699. It takes place along with the farming season when crops are ready to be harvested.
Baisakhi is considered to be the greatest Sikh festival and as such is celebrated with immense fun, frolic and enthusiasm. People take part in the festival by eating a wide range of home-made Punjabi delicacies. Other local food items and sweets are also cooked and eaten during the festival.
The day marks a new beginning, so all the family members dine together. Bhangra, the famous folk dance of Punjab is widely performed all over in celebration. Another folk dance called Gidda is also popular. All around, men and women in colourful clothing, traditional jewellery can be seen.
On the festival day, Gurdwaras are decorated and hold kirtans. Sikhs visit and bathe in lakes or rivers before visiting local Gurdwaras. They distribute ‘Kada Prasad’ among family members, friends and relatives. Religious processions led by the Panj Piaras or the five religious men are taken out in various cities and provinces. Traditional songs, kirtans and recitations of holy passages from the Guru Granth Sahib are made in Gurudwaras. The ritual of Kar Sewa which is the process of offering physical labor to assist in the everyday jobs of the Gurudwara, is also performed. It is a traditional symbol of modesty for the Sikh community.
Every year, there is also a community fair on the occasion and in Punjab, all offices, educational institutions and business houses remain closed as it is a holiday.