The Importance of Vaisakhi

For people in northern parts of India, especially the Sikhs, Vaisakhi is a mega event - it is a new year day, harvest and religious festival all rolled into one. In April, this day marks the beginning of the solar New Year. In fact, this day is celebrated all over the country as New Year day, under different names.

Punjabis assign quite a different meaning to Vaisakhi, and if you happen to be in any village of punjab to catch the men and women performing bhangra and the gidda dances, you'll get the clear picture.

The dances tells the story of the agricultural process, from tilling the soil through harvesting. As the dholak (drum) changes beats, the dancing sequence progresses, dramatizing plowing, sowing, weeding, reaping, and finally celebrating. As the dhol (drum) changes beats, the dancing sequence progresses, dramatizing everyday farming scenes of sowing, harvesting, winnowing and gathering of crops.

On Baisakhi, farmers thank god for the bountiful crop and pray for good times ahead. Cries of "Jatta Aai Vaisakhi", rent the skies as gaily men and women break into the bhangra and gidda dance to express their joy and enthusiasm. For the Sikh community, Vaisakhi has a very special meaning. It was on this day that their tenth and last guru Guru Gobind Singh Ji laid the foundation of the sacred "Khalsapanth" or the "pure ones".