All About Vaisakhi (Baisakhi) History and Holiday Celebrations

Commemorating 10th Guru, 5 Beloved, and Creation of Khalsa Initiation

Khanda in Sarbloh Batta Filled With Amrit
Khanda in Sarbloh Batta Filled With Amrit. Photo © [Ravitej Singh Khalsa / Eugene, Oregon / USA]

Vaisakhi (Baisakhi) Celebrations:

Vaisakhi is an important historic holiday of Sikhism which occurs in mid April on the first day of the month of Vaisakh according to the scripture based Nanakshahi calendar. Vaisakhi day falls on either April 13 or 14 and commemorates the first Sikh baptism ceremony and the creation of the Khalsa by Tenth Guru Gobind Singh.

Guru Gobind Singh Creates the Khalsa on Vaisakhi 1699

On the first Vaisakhi of 1699, Tenth Guru Gobind Singh asked for volunteers willing to give their head and created the Panj Pyare, a team of five Sikhs, to administer initiation rites of the Amrit baptismal ceremony.

Amrit was prepared from water and sugar stirred with a sword by the Panj Pyare while contemplating the divine. Guru Gobind Singh was the first to receive initiation from the hands of the Panj Pyare. Tens of thousands of Sikhs followed his example. Having established a method of baptism, Guru Gobind Singh created the warrior order of the Khalsa brotherhood

Guru Gobind Singh Creates the Original Panj Pyare of 1699

The original Panj Pyare of 1699 came from all walks of life, but renounced their former occupation representing the abolishment of caste among the Khalsa:

  • Shopkeeper - Daya Singh
  • Farmer - Dharam Singh
  • Water carrier - Himmat Singh
  • Tailor - Muhkam Singh
  • Barber - Sahib Singh

In addition to their arduous duties as administers of Amrit, the Panj Pyare took part in battles fighting at the side of Guru Gobind Singh as Khalsa warriors against the oppression, tyranny and forced conversion of the Islamic Mughal empire.

Amrit Administrators and Initiates:

Following the first Amrit Sanchar Ceremony which took place on on the first day Vaisakh or April of 1699, Guru Gobind Singh sent the Panj Pyare to many locations around the country to administer initiation rites to all willing Sikhs. Only the authorized Panj Pyare were permitted to prepare and bestow the immortalizing Amrit Nectar of initiation.

Initiates of any caste, creed or color who agreed to renounce former religion, rank or lineage, adhere to the tenets of the Sikh faith and keep all their hair intact were welcomed. Many tens of thousands of Sikhs accepted initiation as warriors in the Khalsa Order. and became known as Amritdhari the possessor of Amrit.

Khalsa Warriors and Code of Conduct:

The initiated Khalsa warriors known as sant sipahi or, saint soldier brotherhood, kept a strict Code of Conduct discipline or rahit as outlined in 52 Hukams, issued by Tenth Guru Gobind Singh. The guru sent decrees like the letters to Kabul sangat to faithful followers. The code of conduct applied to both spiritual and material aspects of life. Once initiated male took the surname Singh
meaning lion, and females took the surname Kaur meaning princess. Khalsa initiates renounced caste and lineage to become the spiritual children of Guru Gobind Singh and his spiritual consort Mata Sahib Kaur mother of the Khalsa.

Celebrating Modern Day Vaisakhi Holiday and Festivities

Vaisakhi Holiday is celebrated around the world by all Sikhs. Many years Vaisakhi coincides with Easter. Sikhs living in Western countries are faced with a decision on how to spend their holiday.

The Amrit baptism ceremony, and the Khalsa are a popular feature of Vaisakhi celebrations. Celebrations often include: