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Vaisakhi Overview

Vaisakhi is a harvest festival celebrated by Sikhs and Hindus. It has special significance for Sikhs as it also commemorates the birth of the Khalsa. Khalsa, meaning pure, is the name given by Guru Gobind Singh to Sikhs who have been baptized. For this reason it has become the most celebrated festival among Sikhs in India and several other countries where Sikhs also reside.

Vaisakhi falls on either April 13th or 14th each year. Sikhs attend prayers at a gurdwara (temple) and in large cities throughout North America there are nagar kirtans (processional singing of holy hymns) or parades held to commemorate the day. Sikhs will often do sewa (volunteer services) at a gurdwara or make and donate food to people during the nagar kirtan or parade. The individual groups, families or organizations that make or donate the food may set up langar or snack stations throughout the nagar kirtan route for the sangat (community of people) that attend.

In many cities, Vaisakhi nagar kirtans are huge events with over 100,000 people in attendance. As it is a celebration, entertainment and fun events are part of the festivities.


Many Vaisakhi festivals have stages where performers entertain the crowd.

Time of Day:

Many people go to the gurdwara in the morning to pray. The nagar kirtan usually departs from a gurdwara and follows a parade route throughout the morning and afternoon.

Auntyji’s Approach

Bachai lok, your Auntiji recommends that you attend the local nagar kirtan if your city holds one. You may want to volunteer to help set up or distribute food to attendees. If this is not possible, visit your local gurdwara to do some sewa. Seving food or washing dishes is a form of sewa and will also get you in your mom’s good books!

Maybe next year you can take the lead and organize family and friends to make and distribute food at the nagar kirtan. This can be as elaborate as a cooked meal or simply handing out fruit.

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