CULTURE

What is the Celebration of Vaisakhi about?

Sikhs across the world are celebrating Vaisakhi mainly because of the founding of the Khalsa.  Many people may have experienced or witnessed the celebration of Vaisakhi or the Khalsa Parade. However, the history of this event is of the highest importance in Sikh history because this event established the final form of the Sikhs’ faith. Below are some insights of the Vaisakhi event.

In 1699, Guru Gobind Singh who is one of the eleven Sikh gurus created the order of the Khalsa in which he formulated the Sikh faith. Panj Pyare (the five beloved ones), are the mutually agreed names given to five Sikh men. They formed the core of the Khalsa as they were also the first five persons to receive Khanda di Pahul (a form of an initiation by the two-edged sword. Sikhs who have accepted this initiation are to live their to equality, compassion and in the spirit to service all.   

The order of the Khalsa is created with the below significance.

Kes – Unshorn Hair covered with a Turban (Keski or Dastaar):  The uncut hair depicts the inviolability of the human body” and must be covered with a turban. The turban is a representation of humility, and belief in the equality of men and women, before a universal and omnipresent God.

Kangha – Wooden Comb:  The Wooden Comb is used for combing one’s hair, it represents hygiene, ridding oneself of impurities and what is morally undesirable. The Wooden Comb is to be worn at all times.

Kara – Iron Bracelet: The circular design of the kara signifies the oneness and eternity of God. It is the symbol of perfection, a reminder of the wearer to be mindful of his role as spiritual aspirant and useful citizen, the kara is also on the right hand and is a constant reminder to perform good deeds.

Kachhera – Cotton Breeches:  A resemblance of boxer shorts with a drawstring.  It is a symbol of restraint of passion, of chastity, and a constant reminder of the prohibition of adultery, both in lusting and indeed.

Kirpan –( A Sword in a Wooden or Metal Sheath wrapped in a fabric holster (Gatra). The word “Kirpan” means mercy, grace, or magnanimity by itself. It speaks of law and morality, justice and order and has become an instrument of the divine itself. 

Vaisakhi is celebrated with prayers in various Gurdwaras across the world. Sikhs celebrate Vaisakhi with Nagar Kirtans (Colourful Parades) in many major cities. Sikhs march in this parade while singing hymns, performing Gatka (martial arts of Sikhs) and distribute free food to everyone whether they are Sikhs or non-Sikhs. 

In recent years, Nagar Kirtan in many cities have become a massive event drawing well over thousands of participants.  Everyone is welcome to attend the Khalsa Day Parades and the celebrations welcome every person regardless of religion and cultural background. 

On behalf of the CISM team, we wish everyone a very happy and joyous Vaisakhi. 

Source: Vaisakhi History: https://www.worldsikh.org/so_what_is_vaisakhi_in_canada_all_about

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