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What is Vaisakhi and how is it celebrated around the world?


Vaisakhi is essentially the Sikh New Year.


Vaisakhi also commemorates the year that Sikhism was born as a collective faith in 1699. Therefore, Vaisakhi could be considered the most important date in the Sikh calendar. 


As Vaisakhi marks the birth of the Sikh faith, many Sikhs choose to be baptised on this day.


Vaisakhi is also called Baisakhi. It is celebrated on the 1st day of the month of Vaisakhi in the Sikh Nanakshahi solar calendar, which is between April and May in the Gregorian calendar. 


Although Vaisakhi is predominantly known as the Sikh New Year, Vaisakhi is also a time of further celebration that includes baptisms and Awat Puri, which is an age-old harvest tradition where people gather together and dance to the beat of drums to celebrate the harvesting of wheat. Therefore, Vaisakhi is also referred to as the harvest festival.


Sikhs celebrate this special holiday by spending quality time with family and friends and dressing up in fine clothing. Yellow and orange are known as the Vaisakhi colours and people dress up in these colours during this time. These colours represent joy and the spirit of rebirth. 


Many joyous festivities take place that involves much folk dancing and singing. Sikhs go along the streets in a procession called a Nagar Kirtan, whilst they sing hymns from a sacred book of worship known as Guru Granth Sahib.


Often mela’s (fairs) are arranged that many different vendors participate in, selling ethnic items and traditional food, such as Kada prasad (sweet halwa). Some fairs even have fun rides to go on to entertain the younger audience


Gurdwaras, which are the Sikh places of worship, are beautifully decorated and visited by many. Even those that do not conform to this religion visit the Gurdwaras, as they are open to all and are a welcoming place of peace and refuge. Free food is also distributed to everyone that visits the Gurdwaras.


Vaisakhi is a bright and cheerful festival or celebration where Sikhs open their big hearts to one another, as well as to people from other religious backgrounds, and dance, sing and rejoice together.


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