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Fair & Festivals

A Time to celebrate

Festival Coverage 2005 

Dusherra
Ramlila
Shri Krishna Janamastmi

The Punjabi scene is one long pageant of colorful festivals. As the days peel off the lunar calendar, the people of Punjab- region coming from different faith but Sikhs are in majority here, But Punjabis all-happily go on to celebrate events that line in the collective memory. And that sure make an impressive list of festivals.

Festivals in Punjab have always been celebrated with much exuberance and fanfare. The same Punjabis, who, since time immemorial, have bravely faced the invaders of India from across the borders, have also believed in celebrating festivals and rejoicing to the fullest. For the masses these festivals are popular occasions for social intercourse and enjoyment.

Baisakhi

Punjab being a predominantly agriculture state that prides itself on its food grain production it is little wonder that its most significant festival is Baisakhi, which marks the arrival of harvesting season. The word Baisakhi is derived from the month of Vaisakha (April-May) in which the festival is celebrated. Inevitably falling on the 13th of April every year- a time when the farmer returns home with his bumper crop, the fruit of his whole yearís hard labour- cries of ĎJatta Aai Baisakhií rent the skies as the people of Punjab attired in their best clothes break into the Bhangara dance to express their joy. The dancers and drummers challenge each other to continue the dance. The scenes of sowing, harvesting, winnowing and gathering of crops are expressed through zestful movements of the body to the accompaniment of ballads.

For the Sikhs, Baisakhi has special significance because on this day in 1699, their tenth guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji organized the Order of the Khalsa. On this day he administered Amrit(nectar) to his first batch of five disciples making them Singhs, a martial community. Fairs are organized at various places in Punjab, where besides other recreational activities, wrestling bouts are also held. The occasion is celebrated with great gusto at Talwandi Sabo, where Guru Gobind Singh stayed for nine months and completed the recompilation of the Guru Granth Sahib.

Baisakhi is the first day of Hindu calendar month of Vaishakha and corresponds to the 13th April. Itís time to harvest the winter crop of wheat, time also to celebrate. Homes are spruced up and doorways hung with chains of marigold and mango leaves. The day begins with a ceremonial bath and prayers. A little later, the first ripe ears of wheat and gathered and brought home to be offered to the family deities, to invoke their blessings. Evening sees a Mela complete with stalls and fund and games, and sikh youth performing the robust folk dance called Bhangara.

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