Friday 14 April will see Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi.
Vaisakhi is a spring festival which happens on 13 April or 14 April every year. It’s a day to celebrate the founding of the Sikh community, the Khalsa, in 1699 by the 10th Sikh Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. It was originally a harvest festival in the Punjab until it became Sikhism's most important festival.
The story of the festival
In 1699, Sikhs from all over the Punjab gathered together to celebrate the local harvest festival of Vaisakhi. The tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh, came out of a tent carrying a sword. He asked anyone who was prepared to give their life for their religion to step forward.
A young man stepped forward and went into the tent with Guru Gobind Singh. Then Guru Gobind Singh came out of the tent alone with his sword covered in blood and asked for another volunteer. This happened 4 times until five Sikhs had gone into the tent.
Everyone was very worried that 5 men had died. However, they all came out of the tent alive and wearing turbans. The 5 men became known as the Panj Piare or 'Beloved Five'.
Guru Gobind Singh then baptised all the men into the Khalsa. He said some prayers and sprinkled them all with sugar water called amrit. These 5 men became the first members of the Khalsa.
Modern day celebrations
To celebrate Vaisakhi, Sikhs will visit the Gudwara and they will gather with family and friends and celebrate. In the lead up to Vaisakhi worldwide, people will come together and enjoy parades and special processions through the streets called nagar kirtans. 'Nagar' means town and 'kirtan' means the singing of hymns from the Guru Granth Sahib, which is the Sikh holy book.
The book is carried in the processions in a place of honour.
In the evening, Sikhs have a special meal with family and friends.
Happy Vaisakhi to all who celebrate across Bracknell Forest and beyond!