Q: What are the origins of Vaisakhi?
A: Although Vaisakhi has traditionally been a harvest festival in Punjab and across South Asia for centuries, the day has a very special significance for Sikhs. On Vaisakhi Day in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh created the Order of the Khalsa. The Khalsa are those Sikhs who have accepted the Sikh initiation or "khande kee paahul" and commit to live their lives in the service of humanity and the spirit of equality and compassion. The founding of the Khalsa was a seminal event in Sikh history which gave the Sikh faith its final form.
Q: What is a Nagar Kirtan?
A: The word nagar means town and kirtan is singing of hymns. A nagar kirtan refers to a Sikh parade that is led by the Punj Pyare (the five beloved ones, who represent the first five Sikh to have been initiated) and the Sri Guru Granth Sahib or the Sikh scripture, which is placed in a decorated float. The congregation follows the parade while singing hymns and verses from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, along with displays of the Sikh martial art gatka and distributing free food (langar). The nagar kirtan begins and concludes with a religious service and the serving of langar.
Q: What is the significance of the orange and yellow colours?
A: Yellow and orange are the traditional colours of Vaisakhi. They represent the spirit of rebirth and sacrifice of the Punj Pyare but are also a colour of joy and celebration. When Vaisakhi is celebrated in Punjab, the golden yellow wheat fields are ready to be harvested.
Q: Who can participate in Vaisakhi celebrations?
A: Everyone. The Sikh faith considers all persons to be equal, regardless of gender, race, nationality or class. Sikh gurdwaras are open to all people. The langar or community meal is also offered to both Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike.
Q: Is there any special dress I should wear?
A: The only requirements to visit a Sikh gurdwara are that visitors take off their shoes and cover their heads. Any intoxicants such as tobacco products or liquor are also not permitted on the premises. --World Sikh Organisation of Canada
Caption: A nagar kirtan refers to a Sikh parade that is led by the Punj Pyare (the five beloved ones, who represent the first five Sikhs to have been initiated into the religion).
Please Note: Illustration(s) are not available due to copyright restrictions.
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|Title Annotation:||Special Feature|
|Publication:||South Asian Post|
|Date:||Apr 11, 2019|
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