Sikh Organization Encourages Sikhs to Celebrate Vaisakhi and Educate Your Communites

Washington: Sikh Council on Religion and Education (SCORE) requests Sikhs to take a day off from work and celebrate Vaisakhi with their family. We encourage everyone to share the importance of this day with other people by taking the below letter to schools attended by Sikh children and to our workplaces. This will provide us an opportunity to educate fellow workers, fellow students and teachers in schools about Sikh identity. This also helps in reducing any prejudice and ill feeling coming out of ignorance towards Sikhs. Every religious community celebrates their holidays with their loved ones in their sacred places and they also take a day off. We appeal that we do the same and honor our Gurus and the Panj Piaras.

Vaisakhi - A Sikh Religious Holiday

Vaisakhi is an important Sikh festival, which is also the New Year's Day in the Sikh Calender. It falls on April 14 and celebrates the founding of the institution of Khalsa in 1699 which made the current outer identity of the Sikhs – unshorm hair and beard and a head covering – as a mandatory part of their faith. In addition, members of the Sikh faith were ordered to adopt the additional name of Singh, meaning lion, or Kaur, meaning princess symbolizing equality, and to follow a code of conduct, which Sikhs still uphold today, practicing equality, kindness, courage, steadfastness, and leadership. The Khalsa was created by the founders of Sikhism to encourage people to stand up for their own civil rights and religious freedom for all.

Today, Vaisakhi is celebrated by Sikhs all over the world as a religious and social occasion. They go with their families to the Gurdwara (the Sikh place of worship) to sing hymns, and to read the Sikh Holy Book, Guru Granth Sahib. Processions and feasting follow readings of the holy scripture. Baisakhi brings together people of all backgrounds in a congregation in the spirit of love and respect.

Vaisakhi is both sacred and secular, which encourages everyone to congregate, meet and mix amid festivity and pageantry. The Vaisakhi is, at its simplest, a time to rise above prejudices and join in the unique celebration of life. It embodies, at a deeper level, the concept of cyclical regeneration as in all harvest festivals. In Punjab, (where Sikhism originated) in India, Vaisakhi celebrates the bringing in of the wheat crop with songs and dances.

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