Vaisakhi (Baisakhi) and its Significance among Hindus and Sikhs

Happy Baisakhi to everyone who celebrates it!

India is a land of many sub cultures and festivals. India being primarily agricultural based economy for centuries, its most of the festivals revolve around the plantation and more popularly around the harvest timings. We get to see this diversity even in these harvest festivals. Major harvest festivals celebrated in India are Lohri, Sankranti, Ugadi (Gudhi Padwa) and Baisakhi.

Vaisakhi or Baisakhi Festival is celebrated by both Hindus & Sikhs
Picture Credit: @PeelSchools

Baisakhi, which is primarily a Hindu Festival, marks the beginning of solar new year with the onset of the month of Vaishakh. It specifically falls on 13th or 14th of April. It is celebrated as the Solar New Year by most of the Hindus in entire India, Nepal and many other countries in South East Asia.

Is Baisakhi a Hindu Festival or a Sikh Festival?

Baisakhi or Vaisakhi is celebrated by both Hindus & Sikhs.

Significance of Baisakhi in Hindus:

Baisakhi is an ancient festival of Hindus celebrated on April 13th or 14th, marking the Solar New Year based on the Hindu Vikram Samvat calendar and also celebrating the spring harvest. The Hindus celebrate this festival with great religious fervour by offering their prayers to River Ganga or any major rive that’s closer to their homes. Hindus take holy dip in the rivers and as an offering float lamps made of dried leaves in the water.

Significance of Vaisakhi in Sikhs:

This day has special significance in Sikhism. On this day the tenth and last Guru of Sikhism,– Sri Guru Gobind Singh – formed the Khalsa panth in 1699.

Since this day had always been an auspicious day in India, as Hindus always celebrated it as a major festival, Guru Gobind Singh selected this special day to start the Khalsa Panth when five men (Panj Pyare) vowed to commit their lives to Sikhism by his command.

Since 1699 this day is celebrated with great fervour among the Sikhs too by offering their prayers in Gurudwaras, by offering free vegetarian food during a religious rally called Nagar Kirtans. This practice is followed not only in India but by Sikh communities all over the world.

Baisakhi – Festival of India

The festival Baisakhi is termed as different name in different states of India like Rongali Bihu in Assam, Naba Barsha in Bengal, Puthandu in Tamil Nadu and Pooram Vishu in Kerala.

In Assam, the Baisakhi festival is known by the name Rongali Bihu, celebrated for seven days. The very first day of the festival is called Goru Bihu. On this day, the Hindus worship cows. It is also considered important to wear the new clothes and seek the blessings of the elderly people in the family.

Bengal: Baisakhi is considered as a very propitious day in the Bengali calendar. The day is considered as very auspicious by the merchants or traders to open a new business. Bangla Sangeet Mela is organized to discover the budding musicians and singers of the state.

In Bihar it has been celebrated by the Hindus to welcome the New Year. It is considered extremely auspicious by the people to offer the prayers to the Suriya Devta -Sun God.

In Kerala, this festival is known by the name Vishu. It is considered as a festival of happiness, vibrant colors and light. On this day, Hindu farmers celebrate the good harvest and offer prayer to the God for an excellent year ahead. It is considered to be a tradition to get Vishu Kai Neettam (gift) from the elder members of the family.

In Tamilnadu it is celebrated as Puthandu, also known as Puthuvarudam or the Tamil New Year, is the first day of year on the Tamil calendar, traditionally celebrated as a festival by Tamils as the first day of the Tamil month Chittirai. It falls on or about 14 April every year on the Gregorian calendar.


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Sonal Joshi Nagawkar

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