April 13 – The Vaisakhi Day! The Baisakhi Day! Call what you like! 🙂
The Vaisakhi is one of the most popular festivals of North India.
For centuries, Vaisakhi has marked the time when farmers get ready to put their sickles to the harvest and celebrate a new year. Those old sickles have been replaced by the modern automated machinery; the farmers have outsourced the labor to the migrant workers but the Vaisakhi festival continued to be celebrated with same vigor, with same fanfare.
The festival bears even greater significance for the Sikhs – the Sikh Religion foundation was laid on this day in 1699.
The Vaisakhi festival is equally popular among the Punjabi communities abroad. Throughout the world wherever Punjabi’s are settled, the festival is a key part of their social and religious customs. Desi communities all over the world have their own ways of honoring this tradition of Vaisakhi Mela.
In the United States, there are parades through the cities streets followed by the religious gatherings at the Gurudwaras. New York, New Jersey, Chicago, San Jose, Plano, Las Vegas… a large number of cities throughout America host the Punjabi Mela to mark the festival.
Canada has a large Punjabi population. The local Sikh and Punjabi communities in Vancouver, Surrey, Brampton, Montreal and in many other cities holds the annual Vaisakhi celebrations in mid-April. The city parades, the gurudwara ceremonies, the cultural shows, the dance and sports competition – a healthy doze of desi masala all around, – there is no end to the jubilation.
And rest of the world is not behind in any ways. England has a large Sikh community, with the largest concentrations of Sikhs in in Birmingham and Southall areas. The Punjabi population in these cities go out of their way to show-off and celebrate the day.
The scene is repeated throughout the European and Australian cities.
The festival is always held during one of the April weekends. As there is no public holiday for Vaisakhi Day, weekend is the only time to celebrate in the countries abroad.
The Vaisakhi celebration are getting more and more common among Punjabi population all over the world. In the lands far away, the Punjabi’s bond together under the umbrella of this age-old tradition. The festival rejuvenate the desi communities. In a foreign land, the day brings to life a scene from the original Punjab!
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