Baisākhī, V(a)isākhī. Hindu spring festival. The first day of the Hindu solar month Vaiśākha (Apr.–May), it is New Year's Day by the solar calendar of S. India and a spring harvest festival in N. India, celebrated with melās, dances, and folksongs. Celebrated on or near 13 Apr., Baisākhī is of special importance to Sikhs. Gurū Amar Dās enjoined Sikhs to assemble in the presence of the Gurū. After abolishing the masand order Gobind Siṅgh bade Sikhs to contribute directly to the treasury of the Gurū on Baisākhī. In 1699 he instituted the khālsā on Baisākhī. Sikhs everywhere commemorate this event with akhaṇḍ pāṭh and kīrtan. The previous year's Niśān Sāhib is replaced and the flagpole cleaned. Often new initiates receive amrit, and gurdwārā presidents and management committees are elected. The Harimandir Sāhib, Amritsar, is illuminated. See GURPURB; SAṄGRĀND.
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