Harvest, spring, fields ripe and ready to grow. The spring festivals are blossoming all over the country – appearing one after the other. Vasant Panchami, Udyanotsav, Chapchar Kut, Holi, Shigmo,Ugadi, Aoling, Easter and now Baisakhi.
This is the festival celebrates different significant events – the time of harvest, New Year’s Day and a historical event.
For Sikhs, Baisakhi commemorates the day when Guru Gobind Singh organised the community into the Khalsa (“pure”) panth of warriors. The date marks the first month of Vaisakha and is additionally known as a spring harvest festival.
For Hindus, Baisakhi (also known as Vaisakhi) celebrates the Solar New Year. The festival takes on different forms, with different traditions and a different name across different parts of the country. The Bikhoti festival in Uttarakhand, Bohag Bihu in Assam, Maha Vishuva Sakranti in Odisha, Pahela Baishakh in Bengal, Puthandu in Tamil Nadu and Vishu in Kerala and Jurishital in Bihar. On this date, Spring festivals blossom across the country – celebrated in the North, South, East and Western regions of India.
However, the idea of harvest, new beginnings and historical significance might seem bittersweet, when the Covid19 lockdown mandates us to stay at home. However, the world has proved, that when a challenge occurs it can rise to the occasion. Celebration of festivals has taken a whole new hue, with innovative celebrations being conducted from home. So, why should Baisakhi be any different? Don’t miss out on your own celebration of this festival. With a few tweaks to the traditions, you can celebrate Baisakhi at home.
Vibrancy – Decorate your Home
Spring brings new colours and hues to the world, so why shouldn’t your home be the same? Baisakhi is celebrated with the touch of vibrant shades of red, yellow and orange – with orange and yellow holding a particular significance in the Sikh community. Hang yellow curtains, cover the pillows in red and orange, unfurl out a yellow rug. Decorate the entrance of your home with a beautiful rangoli design. Rangoli welcomes good fortune into your home, so use different coloured powders, chalk, rice, petals, sand or even flour to create elaborate designs. Drape or hang lovely flower garlands in different parts of the house – especially at the entrance. In these small ways, you can bring vibrancy and freshness to your home, in deference to this spring harvest festival.
A Fresh Start – The Holy Dip
Spring is the season of change, when the old is gone and the new and fresh emerges. Many festivals in India, include rituals to banishing the past, clean out the old and let the new in. We clean our homes and purify our bodies to cancel out previous sins.
For Baisakhi, devotees bathe in the holy river Ganges, to honour the Goddess Ganga. Unfortunately, due to the Covid19 lockdown, you won’t be able to access the closest pond, lake or river or sacred body of water to take a holy dip. Thankfully, you can do this cleansing ritual at home, in your tub. As we’ve mentioned, the tradition signifies a washing away of previous sins and starting with a clean slate – a perfect way to symbolise the new year and a new season.
After you bathe, you should dress in brand new clothes to signify the start of the year. Orange and Yellow are symbolic of both celebration and rebirth, so try to find clothes in these shades.
Feast – Beloved Baisakhi Dishes
Celebrate the bounty of Baisakhi with a grand feast at home. Traditionally, North Indian Punjabi dishes are cooked during this festival, including chhole Bhature, makke ki roti with sarso ka saag, peele chawal, sweet lassi (or buttermilk), jaggery halwa and kadhi pakora with rice. You can also prepare non-vegetarian favourites like tandoori chicken, butter chicken or other Punjabi chicken and mutton dishes to accompany the vegetarian fare. Desserts include, dry fruits kheer, coconut ladoos, phirni, dodha barfi and more.
Baisakhi is a bold and beautiful festival that is traditionally celebrated through processions, fairs, parades, crafts, folk music and more. However, the lockdown prompted by the Coronavirus, prohibits outside gatherings, meaning certain activities like visiting the Golden Temple, your Gurudwara and the melas won’t be possible. However, you could watch traditional Bhangra and Gidda performances, or listen to the folk music at home. It may not replace the joy of the original festivities, but it will add to your own personal celebrations at home.
The lockdown has transformed the way we celebrate beloved festivals in India, but it can’t change the importance these festivals hold for different communities in India. Whether you’re heralding the spring by celebrating Baisakhi, Vishu, Bohag Bihu, Pahela Baishakh, Jurshital or Bikhoti, we hope you get to enjoy these festivals that signify the chance for a new beginning.
From Club Mahindra, we wish you all a very Happy Baishaki Vishu, Bohag Bihu, Pahela Baishakh, Jurshital and Bikhoti.
[April 14, 2020]