By Sukhvir Kaur Dhillon
Vaisakhi celebrates the founding of the Khalsa or Sikh brotherhood. During the month of Vaisakh (mid-April to mid-May), Guru Gobind Singh Ji (the tenth Sikh Guru) summoned Sikhs far and wide to the city of Anandpur Sahib, India. Once the Sikhs gathered, Guru Ji presented Themselves on a platform. In a test of faith, Guru Ji raised their sword and asked who was willing to give their head! In time, five Sikhs stood, and each presented themselves to the Guru, offering themselves as a sacrifice. In turn, Guru Gobind Singh Ji blessed them with Amrit (ambrosial nectar) and initiated them into the Khalsa. These five were hereafter known as the Panj Pyare (the Five Beloved Ones). Since this day in 1699, millions of Sikhs worldwide have been blessed with Amrit, becoming initiated into the Khalsa (Army of the Immaculate), adhering to stand up against injustice and provide the basic needs to people from all walks of life.
Sikhs observe Vaisakhi by visiting their local Gurdwaras, a place of worship in Sikhism decorated especially for the occasion. Agar kirtan processions are carried out, food-charity or Langar Seva is held. Nagar Kirtan is the procession of Guru Granth Sahib - the holy book of Sikhs. This religious procession is carried out by devotees chanting or singing a holy hymn.
Vaisakhi also marks the spring harvest, and farmers in Punjab celebrate this occasion with community gatherings and festivals.