hat is the Sikh Vaisakhi?
Vaisakhi is the celebration of the Creation of the Khalsa. Sikhs do not celebrate Vaisakhi as the Sikh new year or a harvest festival.
What is the Khalsa?
The Khalsa is a collective of committed Sikhs (male and female) who are the leaders and defenders of the Sikh Way. The Khalsa was created to fight oppression and uphold freedom and basic needs (food, clothing, health, and education) for all people. Every Sikh should aim to join the Khalsa one day.
How was the Khalsa created?
In April 1699, the Tenth Guru, Guru Gobind Singh Ji tested the Sikhs by asking for volunteers to sacrifice themselves. The first five who stepped forward proved their devotion and formed the first Khalsa (Panj Pyare). Anyone can join the Khalsa through an initiation ceremony, which is carried out by five exemplary members of the Khalsa.
What Are The Qualities of a Khalsa?
The names of the first Panj Pyare (the five beloved ones) reflect the ideal qualities of Khalsa. When we have empathy (Daya) for others, we can give them justice (Dharam), but this requires courage (Himmat) to face up to evil-doers and commitment (Mohkam) to keep going through tough times, until the Khalsa is sovereign (Sahib).
Why do Sikhs Look Different?
Guru Ji gave the Khalsa a distinct form, so people could ask them for help. The Khalsa is always armed with a Kirpan (sword) and has royal surnames, Singh for men and Kaur for women. The Turban worn by the Khalsa reflects their sovereign nature.
What is a Nagar Kirtan?
Sikh communities celebrate festivals by holding public processions and sharing their joy with other communities. Nagar means town and Kirtan mean singing of spiritual hymns. Nagar Kirtans stem from ‘Parbhaat Pheri’ in Punjab, when Sikhs would wake up before dawn and join groups to sing God’s praises on the way to the Gurdwara.
Why Sing Kirtan in a Nagar Kirtan?
Nagar Kirtans are led by the Sikh scriptural Guru, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, and Five Khalsa (Panj Pyare) representing the spirit and body of the Guru. All the Guru’s writings are in poetry. Singing these divine songs of love allows us to see through the Guru’s enlightened eyes. We sing in groups, as this is the fastest way to experience and fall in love with the Divine One. This is when our spiritual life begins. Deep down, our soul loves and thirsts for the Divine One. Temporarily, the world might distract us from this thirst but, without this divine experience, we remain unfulfilled.
Why is there Free Food (Langar) in a Nagar Kirtan?
This is a form of selfless service (Seva) that was instituted by Guru Nanak Dev Ji, the First Guru. All Gurdwaras serve free Langar to all visitors regardless of race, religion, or social status. This has three main reasons: To Fight Hunger, Put Equality into Action, and Teach Compassion.
Or you can start by watching this video by Bhai Harman Singh