The Origin of Vaisakhi
Vaisakhi originated as a harvest festival in India's Punjab region. In 1699, it took on special significance for Sikhs when Guru Gobind Singh, the tenth Sikh guru, created the order of the Khalsa. This order redefined the concept of authority within the Sikh community, introduced a new initiation ceremony and code of conduct, and provided the community with a new religious and political vision.
The first five Sikh baptisms, all performed by Guru Gobind Singh, occurred at the 1699 Vaisakhi celebration.
Guru Gobind Singh initiated Khalsa on Vaisaki.
Photo credit: File:Poster Guru Gobind Singh. Star Studio Nairobi. c 1950.jpg" by Amarjit Chandan is marked with CC BY-SA 4.0.
The End of Guru Era
Sikhism was founded by the first guru, Guru Nanak and until Baisakhi Day in 1699, the current guru named his successor before his death. After the Baisakhi in 1699 the tradition of gurus was discontinued, and the Granth Sahib which is the Sikhs' Holy book was declared the eternal guide of the Sikhs.
How is Vaisakhi Celebrated
Vaisakhi is a day of thanksgiving for a bountiful harvest. Baisakhi is typically celebrated with a grand parade with decorated floats, music and people dressed in bright colours. The holy scriptures, known as the Guru Granth Sahib, are carried through the streets on a float.
Food plays a significant part in the celebrations. Sikhs have a long tradition of sharing food. Langar is the free community meal offered at Sikh temples around the world to anyone who wants to join them (not just on Vaisakhi). Langar is free at Vaisakhi and year round. If you are invited to a Vaisakhi celebration, it's best to go on an empty stomach.
Friends and family often exchange gifts as part of their Vaisakhi celebrations, and many volunteer at their gurdwara.
The Day Holds Significance for Other Religions
The Buddhist community believes that on the eve of Vaisakhi, Gautama Buddha attained enlightenment or Nirvana under the Mahabodhi tree in the town of Gaya.
Hindus believe that thousands of years ago, Goddess Ganga descended to earth on the eve of Vaisakhi. Many Hindus celebrate by gathering along the sacred Ganges River for ritual baths.
What Greetings to Offer on Vaisakhi
The simplest greeting to offer is Happy Vaisakhi but you can also wish Sikhs blessings and good fortunes. If you are attending a Vaisakhi celebration, Sikhs greet one another saying Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.
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