Baisakhi: Culture and traditions, Baisakhi in Punjab

Baisakhi is one of the most enthusiastically celebrated festival of the Punjab and some adjoining states. This festival falls on the first day of Baisakh which is also the first day of the new year of the Vikram Samvat which makes it all the more auspicious.

This day corresponds to 13th of April. Since wheat is the staple crop of the Punjab, it is the wealth, the measure of economic prosperity, the life and soul of the Punjabi farmers, who regard it as a gift from benevolent Nature.

Baisakhi is by when the wheat crop is ripened and harvested. This ends the day and night vigil of the fields.

Now it's time for fun and frolic. Bhangras are danced by boys and young men and gidda and phoohi by girls and young brides.

Baisakhi melas are held in villages and small towns. As the farmers are flush with money, new clothes, utensils and other household goods are bought.

But during all this jubilation our farmers do not forget benevolent Nature. Though not always well-read, they understand the Vedantic concept of the tripod of existence: Atma (soul), Parmatma (God) and Prakriti (Nature).

They know that good crops are a gift from Nature - rains, sunshine and other favourable weather conditions at different stages of growth are essential for a bumper crop. Yagnas and special Ardas are performed to please the weather gods.

However, if they do not get the desired weather conditions they do not curse Nature but attribute it to their karmas (deeds). Four grain-bearing stems of the auspicious wheat plants are brought to the house.

Often, a thread with wheat stalks is hung above the main door. This is the English rendering of a Punjabi song sung about Baisakhi: "The wheat crop has ripened/ Mango trees are laden with small flowers / Which will grow into juicy fruit / Then the branches bearing the fruit / Will not stand tall and haughty/ But will bend down in all humility / To offer their juicy elixir to the people/ How gracious is Nature!".

No comments: