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20 October 2014
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Baisakhi - 13 April 2014

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Men wearing traditional Sikh costumeBaisakhi, also spelled Vaisakhi, is the festival which celebrates Sikh New Year and the founding of the Sikh community, known as the Khalsa, in 1699.

It is celebrated on April 13 or 14.

It was originally a harvest festival in the Punjab before it became the Sikh's most important festival.

The story of Baisakhi

In 1699, Sikhs from all over the Punjab gathered together to celebrate the local harvest festival of Baisakhi.

Guru Gobind Singh came out of a tent carrying a sword and requested that anyone prepared to give his life for his religion come forward.

A young Sikh came forward and disappeared into the tent with the Guru. Then the Guru reappeared alone with his sword covered in blood and asked for another volunteer.

This was repeated another four times until a total of five Sikhs had gone into the tent with him.

Everyone present was very worried until eventually all five emerged from the tent alive, with Guru Gobind Singh, and wearing turbans.

The five became known as the Panj Piare, or 'Beloved Five'.

The men were then baptised into the Khalsa by the Guru. He said some prayers over the five and they were sprinkled with the amrit.

This is how the Amrit ceremony came into being and these five Sikhs became the first members of the Khalsa.

Sikhism events and festivals

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