Time to celebrate, time for reflection; Celebrating the birth of the Khalsa order.
It is one of the most significant holidays in the Sikh calendar, commemorating the establishment of the Khalsa order at Anandpur Sahib in 1699, by the tenth Sikh Guru, Guru Gobind Singh. It also marks the beginning of the Sikh new year.
TRADITIONALLY Vaisakhi in Punjab had been a time for farmers to reap the fruits of their toil and a time for joy after the long-awaited harvest. For Sikhs, the month of Vaisakh symbolises a different type of harvest. The first day of the month of Vaisakh, Vaisakhi is the anniversary of the birth of the Khalsa Nation. On April 13 1699 the tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji, called a mass gathering of Sikhs and initiated the five beloved ones (Panj Pyare) and established the Khalsa order of Saint Soldiers, bringing to fruition a way of life that had been lived by the 10 Gurus and which would be guided by the immortal message conveyed through them and installed as The Word or Shabad Guru in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Thus a code of conduct was established providing for the Sikh nation a distinctive identity that bestowed honour and dignity. Sikhs continue to mark this anniversary throughout the world and are recognised for their distinctive attire of the five Kakkars - the five articles of the Sikh faith; the kachhera, kanga, kara (pictured left), kes and kirpan. A discipline and uniform for all members of the faith regardless of gender or status, it provides an ever contemporary message to society that we are all equal in the eyes of God and it is our actions that will be observed not our standing, social class or physical make-up.
Two boys get in the spirit of Vaisakhi during last year's celebration in Handsworth Park