Vaisakhi, also known as ‘Baisakhi’ or ‘Vasakhi,’ is one of the biggest festivals celebrated across India.
Vaisakhi is special to most Indians because it is the festival of harvest.
Agriculture forms the backbone of the Indian economic system and Vaisakhi is one of the most important festivals for our Indian community.
For followers of the Sikh religion, it is a special day, not only because their crops are ready to be harvested but also because in 1699 on the day of ‘Vaisakhi,’ Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the tenth Sikh Guru laid the foundation of ‘Panth Khalsa’ (the ‘Order of the Pure Ones’).
This gives the day of Vaisakhi a special place in the hearts and minds of followers of Sikhism.
Vaisakhi is celebrated across India under different names.
In Assam, Vaisakhi convenes with Bohag Bihu; in Bengal with Naba Barsha (or New Year); in Tamil Nadu with Puthandu; in Kerala with Vishu; in the Kumaon region of Uttarakhand with Bikhu; in Orissa with Maha Vishuva Sankranti and in Sri Lanka as the Sinhalese New Year.
All these festivals are celebrated across India to mark the harvest of crops and to welcome the New Year.
Therefore, Vaisakhi is a special day for Hindus as well as for Sikhs.
Buddhists too celebrate the festival because Gautam Buddha achieved Nirvana on Vaisakhi Day.
Vaisakhi is a day that binds us regardless of our religion or cultural practices.
Furthermore, Vaisakhi is a day that celebrates fruits of hard work.
For a simple farmer, who has worked hard all year round, there cannot be a more satisfying day, when his hard work is ready to be harvested.
This satisfaction translates in to immense happiness when the entire community regardless of their background gather to celebrate Vaisakhi with exuberance and devotion. To celebrate Vaisakhi, people buy and wear new colourful clothes, prepare and eat delicious food.
In the states of Punjab and Haryana, men chant ‘Jatta Aai Baisakhi’ multiple times followed by the traditional Bhangra dance, while women break into the traditional dance of Gidda. However, in enjoying themselves, they do not forget to thank God Almighty for their harvest and pray that good times last forever.
Vaisakhi is a testament to the fact that hard work and dedication usually will not fail us.
Indians in New Zealand and around the world also celebrate Vaisakhi.
It would be a proud moment for me to represent New Zealand and the Indian community at the Vaisakhi celebrations in Australia.
The National Party and the government acknowledge the contribution of all cultures to the New Zealand way of life.
We extend our full support to all cultures by attending and participating in cultural events organised by cultural communities.
Kanwaljit Singh Bakshi has been a Member of Parliament on National Party List since 2008. He is also the Chairman of the Law & Order Select Committee of Parliament.