BAISAKH: A MONTH OF FESTIVITIES
It’s already the mid of April. In the west, the first day of this month starts with a funny thing called the First April Fools day. The day might be a day of befooling others with fun and jokes, however, here in the east it brings endless tales of happiness but mostly sad stories, accidents and tragedies out of this nonsensical fools day on first of this month.
In contrast to this rather funny yet sad start in western culture, here in the orient this month augurs a season of festival and festivities; as it’s the very month when crops are ready for harvesting.
The seeds in the stalks are ripe, the fields have a golden hue and it’s the time when whole of Punjab thunders with chanting of “FaslaN di muk gyi rakhi, Jatta ayi vaisakhi” for the month coincides with the eastern calendar month of baisakh. And Baisakh is the month when farmers have the fruits of their toils, the harvest ready for storage or sale, when they get a return on their investment like purchases of seeds, fertilizers and above all the hard labor to make their sowing efforts turn into healthy crop.
Once the produce is filled into bags or stored as dhairis in the open or in the hand made silos made out of thatched grass and terracotta mud, or is straightaway sold to the buyers in grain markets nearby the countryside, it is the time to merry making, time to rejoice. Melas i.e. fairs and festivals are a common scene in these days. The principal occasion of these events is Baisakhi mela or the harvest festival. It’s the time when farmers sing and dance to their full zest and spirit.
But the month of April carries another significance as well. It was on the 13th of April, 1699 that Guru Gobind Singh gave new guidelines and a new identity, Khalsa , to the Sikh religion, at the Baisakhi (Spring) festival at Anandpur. To commemorate and celebrate this festival with our Sikh brethren, WOP brings three different posts in this issue. The first two are inserted now. The third one will follow later.