Vaisakhi: Sikh New Year's

Coolie reminds me that today is Vaisakhi (also sometimes spelled Baisakhi). It's technically the Sikh new year's day, though it originates in a secular spring harvest festival. Vaisakhi retains somewhat of the flavor of that kind of holiday, and for most people in India it is basically another excuse to celebrate. In the U.S., the local Sikh communities tend to hold local "Sikh Day Parades" (NYC is having one on April 30th), followed by big after-parties for the young'uns.

There is virtually no news about Vaisakhi anywhere in the media. The most exciting thing I could find is, Daler Mehndi, the King of Punjabi Pop, is set to perform in Bombay for the first time in eight years.


Anonymous said...

Happy Baisaki, oye.

coolie said...

Yes indeed Happy Vaisakhi to all people of every religion.

Vaisakhi heralds the spring harvest in Punjab and is also the most important spiritual date to Sikhs as it marks the day that the Sikh brotherhood-sisterhood was formalised and codified.

But it is also about renewal, as Punjabis gather in the harvest and celebrate the end of winter. Lots of fun and dance and singing. Happy Vaisakhi everyone!

Ms. World said...

I second that- Happy Vaisakhi!

Now I wish I was in NYC, so I could see the parade and my friends and I could crash the after party at Webster Hall in the name of cross-cultural relations.

Sibyl said...

It's also the Tamizh (not Tamil) New Year's day today!

electrostani said...

Ms. World,

Uh, the part at Webster Hall is going to be a bunch of college students, I think. I'll probably go home early to watch "Battlestar Galactica" or some such tame entertainment.

neha said...

Happy Baisakhi! I wish I was back in Punjab.

pennathur said...

Also Vishukkani the Malayali New Year and Pohila Baisakh the Bengali New Year (as well as Rongoli Bihu in Assam IIRC). It is also the Son Rongla (people of Thai heritage please pardon me) in Thailand. All of these mark the New Year for those who follow the Solar Calendar. The Lunar folks of India had theirs about 10 days ago- Gudi Padva (Maharashtra), Ugadi (Telugus and Kannadigas). Being from a borderline Tamizh family (my elders were al fluent in Telugu) we have always celebrared the Tamizh New Year and Ugadi. My wife is Bengali so it's one more celebration! Pohila Baisakh is (used to be) a big thing in Bangladesh. Let's see how that one goes.

Anonymous said...

Happy new year. It's also the Hindu new year, celebrated by millions of Hindus in South India. 300,000 had gathered for ritual ablutions at the Narmada River, when the dam above stream released a wall of water, killing 150 pilgrims.

How is it that these dates are not included in the government's calendar? New Year's celebration is pretty big. Yet CNN and BBC articles display ignorance of the calendar, and a lack of parity in describing the event: Would Yom Kippur be described as ritual in which Jews "feel their sins are washed away by (repentance) at this time" ? And, what about the Indian press?


Up to 150 pilgrims drown in India
Tuesday, April 12, 2005 Posted: 0736 GMT (1536 HKT)

"DHARAJI, India (Reuters) -- Hundreds of wailing pilgrims have lined the banks of a holy river in central India and prayed for loved ones after more than 150 people either drowned or were missing when the gates of a nearby dam were opened.

"Some hastily cremated their dead among the scores swept away when the upstream dam released water for power generation on Saturday when an estimated 300,000 Hindus had gathered on the banks of the now calm Narmada river to pray. ...

"The pilgrims had gathered on the banks of Narmada a day ahead of the new moon, a period which is considered auspicious by Hindus as they feel bathing in the holy river at this time would wash away their sins."

Anonymous said...

what happened at the sikh new year

Anonymous said...

when do you celebrate the new year of sikhs