Baisakhi

Baisakhi

This festival celebrated on the 14th April commemorates the founding of the Sikh community know as the Khalsa. On this day in 1699, Guru Gobind Singh called Sikhs from all over India to the city of Anandpur Sahib. At this assembly Guru Gobind Singh gave a powerful speech ending with a call for anyone willing to sacrifice their life in the name of their faith. A man offered himself and followed the Guru into a tent. The Guru emerged from the tent alone, holding a sword covered with blood. Again, he called for someone prepared to give their life for their faith and another man came forward and went into the tent with the Guru. After five men had followed the Guru into the tent and with people fearing that they had been killed, the Guru then emerged with all five men who were now dressed in blue. Guru Gobind Singh called these five Sikhs the Panj Payre or the Five Beloved Ones.

The Panj Pyare were the first members of the new Sikh community, the Khalsa. They were baptized in a distinctive ceremony, as the Guru proclaimed that the Panj Pyare would be the embodiment of the Guru himself. The Guru gave the Khalsa what is known today as the Five K’s. He gave all the men the surname Singh (lion) which signified courage and the women Kaur (princess) symbolizing dignity.

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